Spinal Cord Injury
180 Medical was founded by Todd Brown, who is paralyzed from the chest down due to a spinal cord injury. There are many employees on staff available to speak with you that have also experienced spinal cord injuries that will be able to relate with you and answer any questions that you may have.
SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Connection: our Facebook community is a place where you can ask questions about your spinal cord injury, share tips & tricks, and learn more about what is going on in the SCI community.
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: learn more about the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and about the many programs that can help benefit you.
Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF): an organization that promotes getting involved in adaptive sports. Includes a grant program that helps supply adaptive sports equipment or traveling expenses.
Helpful videos for new wheelchair users:
Additional information on spinal cord injuries:
- What is Spinal Cord Injury?
- Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury
- Prognosis: Spinal Cord Injury
- What research is being done on Spinal Cord Injury?
What is Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when a traumatic event results in damage to cells within the spinal cord or severs the nerve tracts that relay signals up and down the spinal cord. The most common types of spinal cord injury include contusion (bruising of the spinal cord) and compression (caused by pressure on the spinal cord). Other types of injuries include lacerations (severing or tearing of some nerve fibers, such as damage caused by a gunshot wound), and central cord syndrome (specific damage to the corticospinal tracts of the cervical region of the spinal cord). Severe spinal cord injury often causes paralysis (loss of control over voluntary movement and muscles of the body) and loss of sensation and reflex function below the point of injury, including autonomic activity such as breathing and other activities such as bowel and bladder control (catheters are often needed to assist individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury). Other symptoms such as pain or sensitivity to stimuli, muscle spasms, and sexual dysfunction may develop over time. Spinal cord injury patients are also prone to develop secondary medical problems, such as bladder infections, lung infections, and bed sores.
Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury
While recent advances in emergency care and rehabilitation allow many spinal cord injury patients to survive, methods for reducing the extent of an injury and for restoring function are still limited. Immediate treatment for acute spinal cord injury includes techniques to relieve cord compression, prompt (within 8 hours of the injury) drug therapy with corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone to minimize cell damage and stabilization of the vertebrae of the spine to prevent further injury.
The road to recovery from a spinal cord injury can be long and difficult—physically and mentally. In addition to treatment of the spinal cord, patients need to be kept under close surveillance for further medical problems. Victims of serious injuries, such as a spinal cord injury, are highly susceptible to infection. Catheters, as well as any other equipment, used to fight incontinence need to be maintained regularly. Patients need a strong support system for a full recovery.
Prognosis: Spinal Cord Injury
The types of disability associated with spinal cord injury vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, the segment of the spinal cord at which the injury occurs, and which nerve fibers are damaged. Most people with spinal cord injury regain some functions between a week and 6 months after injury, but the likelihood of spontaneous recovery diminishes after 6 months. Rehabilitation strategies can minimize long-term disability.
What research is being done on Spinal Cord Injury?
NINDS research on trauma-related disorders such as spinal cord injury focuses on increasing scientific understanding of how changes in molecules, cells, and their complex interactions determine the outcome of spinal cord injury and finding ways to prevent and treat these injuries. There is also increasing interest in neural stem and progenitor cells and their potential application in cell replacement therapies for the treatment of complex neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury.