The severity of an injury depends on the part of the spinal cord that is affected. The higher the SCI on the vertebral column, or the closer it is to the brain, the more effect it has on how the body moves and what one can feel.
More movement, feeling and voluntary control are generally present with injuries at lower levels. The rehabilitation provided helps the patient to ease out all the activities of daily living. The treatment includes helping the patients in attending self-care activities, mobility, locomotion, Sphincter Control and communication.
The activity-based therapy includes training from bed to wheelchair and vice versa, gait training using walker, harness based walker, taking stairs, helping to improve bladder control along with building the upper extremities strength and total body conditioning.
Types of spinal cord injuries
There are many different types of spinal cord injuries. Usually, doctors will categorize them into complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries.
A complete injury is one in which a person loses all feeling and control of the body below the spinal cord injury. A person with an incomplete spinal cord injury may still have some feeling in or control of the affected areas.
The location of the injury also determines its type. There are four sections of the spinal cord:
Each of the four sections controls different parts of the body. In most cases, a person will lose some or all control and feeling in the limbs that are below the spinal cord injury.
The top portion of the spine, which includes the vertebrae in the neck, is the cervical spine. As cervical spine injuries are closest to the brain and may affect the largest portion of the body, they tend to be the most severe type.
An injury to the cervical spine often causes tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, which is full or partial paralysis of the four limbs and the torso.
The thoracic spine includes the upper and middle part of the back.
A thoracic spine injury often affects the muscles in the abdomen, legs, and lower back. People with a thoracic spine injury may have paraplegia, which means that they have paralysis in parts of the trunk and legs. A person with paraplegia can still use their arms and hands.
The lumbar spine is the lowest major portion of the spine. The vertebrae in this section are larger because they support more weight than those in other areas of the spine.
A person with a lumbar spine injury may lose some function in the hips and legs, but they usually retain control of their upper body. Some people with a lumbar spine injury may be able to walk with braces or use a wheelchair.
The sacral spine is the area just above the tailbone. The nerves arising from this part of the spinal cord control the area of the hips, groin, and backs of the thighs.
An injury to the sacral spine can cause some loss of function in the hips and legs. It may also affect bladder and bowel control. However, people with a sacral spine injury can often still walk.