A spinal cord injury is any damage or injury to any part of the spinal column due to trauma, tumor or infection. It often causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below that specific level of injury.

Spinal cord injuries are classified as incomplete or complete. Incomplete injuries show preservation of some functions below the injured level. Complete injuries are characterized by a total lack of both motor (movement) and sensory (feeling) functions below the level of the injury.



People with spinal cord injury experience:

  • Severe pain in the back
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Limited mobility
  • An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
  • Numbness
  • Loss of sensation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Complete paralysis

The ability to control the limbs after spinal cord injury depends on the place of the injury and the severity of injury to the spinal cord.

Paralysis of the spinal cord injury may be referred to as:

  • Tetraplegia , also known as quadriplegia. The arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs are affected by the spinal cord injury.
  • Paraplegia. This paralysis affects all or part of the trunk, legs and pelvic organs.