What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of your back. It carries signals back and forth between your body and your brain. A spinal cord injury disrupts the signals. Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow that fractures (breaks) or dislocates your vertebrae, the bone disks that make up your spine. Most injuries don’t cut through your spinal cord. Instead, they cause damage when pieces of vertebrae tear into cord tissue or press down on the nerve parts that carry signals.

Complete vs Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete. With a complete spinal cord injury, the cord can’t send signals below the level of the injury. As a result, you are paralyzed below the injury. With an incomplete injury, you have some movement and sensation below the injury.

Grading Spinal Cord Injury?

SCIs are graded according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grading scale, which describes the severity of the injury. The scale is graded with letters:

  • ASIA A: injury is complete spinal cord injury with no sensory or motor function preserved.
  • ASIA B: a sensory incomplete injury with complete motor function loss.
  • ASIA C: a motor incomplete injury, where there is some movement, but less than half the muscle groups are anti-gravity (can lift up against the force of gravity with a full range of motion).
  • ASIA D: a motor incomplete injury with more than half of the muscle groups are anti-gravity.
  • ASIA E: normal.

How do we treat patients with Spinal Cord Injury?

A comprehensive rehabilitation program is critical to successful recovery of patients with spinal cord injury and re-integration into society / community. We focus on

  • Strength and Movement Therapy using MotoMed. This provides much more effective and intense therapy for arms and legs compare with manual therapy alone. Read more at https://www.motomed.com/en/affected-persons/spinal-cord-injury/
  • Functional electric stimulation
  • Manual physical therapy
  • Gait training
  • Computerized balance and coordination training. 
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