Acute Spinal Cord Injury Online Resource Center


10 FAQs About Acute Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

What is a spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injuries commonly lead to paralysis; they involve damage to the nerves within the bony protection of the spinal canal. The most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction is trauma (including motor vehicle accidents, falls, shallow diving, acts of violence, and sports injuries). Damage can also occur from various diseases acquired at birth or later in life, from tumors, electric shock, and loss of oxygen related to surgical or underwater mishaps.

The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of function to occur. The spinal cord can be bruised, stretched, or crushed. Since the spinal cord coordinates body movement and sensation, an injured spinal cord loses the ability to send and receive messages from the brain to the body's system that controls sensory, motor, and autonomic function.

These FAQs will take you through the basics of acute spinal cord injury. Since each injury is different as to its level and severity, the answers are provided in general terms so that you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your loved one.

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What emergency procedures occur following a spinal cord injury or what is suspected to be an SCI?
  2. How is a spinal cord injury defined at the level of injury, what is the difference between a complete and an incomplete injury?
  3. What are the secondary conditions associated with paralysis -- how will the SCI affect other organs and systems in the body.
  4. How to locate an appropriate rehabilitation facility?
  5. How to obtain health care if the injured person is uninsured or underinsured at the time of injury?
  6. When and how to apply for federal Social Security benefits?
  7. What is the clinical trials process?
  8. Where to locate resources for funding of rehabilitation and necessary medical equipment?
  9. What is the promise of stem cell research; should I seek unapproved treatments?
  10. How to deal with depression and adjustment to spinal cord injury?
Medical Disclaimer
The information contained in this website is presented for educational purposes only. It may not be appropriate for all levels of injury. Nothing contained here should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists
Reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270.

Site developed with an educational grant from Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. Acorda does not contribute to the content of this site.

Powered by Acorda Therapeutics