Spinal cord injury is any injury resulting in damage to the spinal cord and its associated nerves.
Spinal cord injury is primarily associated with loss of feeling and movement below the site of injury. Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis. Other symptoms include loss of control over the bladder and bowels, sexual and fertility implications, tingling sensations, and difficulty breathing.
Spinal cord injury is often caused by physical trauma and damage secondary to events such as traffic accidents, falls, violence such as knife and gun wounds, sporting accidents, and accidents involving alcohol. Diseases such as cancer, inflammation and arthritis can also cause spinal cord injury. Injury usually results in damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, disks and nerve fibres of the spinal cord.
Spinal cord injury cannot be reversed. In the early stages of treatment, surgery and medication may be required to stabilise the damage, whilst in the long term rehabilitation, medication and mobility aids may be required for life.