Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Spinal cord injury, or myelopathy, is a disturbance of the spinal cord that results in loss of sensation and mobility. The two common types of spinal cord injury are:

Trauma: automobile accidents, falls, gunshots, diving accidents, etc.

Disease: polio, spina bifida, tumors, Friedreich’s ataxia, etc.

It is important to note that the spinal cord does not have to be completely severed for there to be a loss of function. In fact, the spinal cord remains intact in most cases of spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injuries are not the same as back injuries such as ruptured disks, spinal stenosis or pinched nerves. It is possible to “break one’s neck or back” and not sustain a spinal cord injury if only the vertebrae are damaged, but the spinal cord remains intact.

About 450,000 people in the United States live with spinal cord injury, and there are about 11,000 new spinal cord injuries every year. The majority of them (78%) involve males between the ages of 16-30 and result from motor vehicle accidents (42%), violence (24%), or falls (22%).