The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves that runs down the center of the back that transmits impulses back and forth between the brain and body. A spinal cord injury occurs when some mechanism causes damage to the spinal cord that impairs the flow of these impulses. When pieces of vertebrae press on the nerves or tear into the cord tissue, spinal cord damage occurs. There are two main types of spinal cord injuries. A complete spinal cord injury occurs when no signals can be transmitted below the injury site. Incomplete spinal cord injury refers to the impairment of impulse transmission below the injury site. Most spinal cord injuries occur as the result of a motor vehicle accident, violence, disease, or sports injury. Spinal cord injury diagnosis is made with a physical examination, CT scan, CAT scan, and MRI. Treatment involves surgery, counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medications.
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Loss Or Altered Sensation
A loss of or altered sensation is considered a functional sensory symptom, which includes any sensory symptoms that occur due to nervous system malfunction. Loss of sensation is a symptom that refers to the inability to feel temperature changes or pain in the affected body part. Altered sensation refers to when an individual has an impaired ability to feel temperature changes or pain that may or may not be accompanied by unusual tingling sensations. The symptoms of altered sensation or sensation loss can involve injury to the sensory neurons right outside of the spinal cord or the spinal interneurons inside of the spinal cord. Loss or altered sensation that occurs in all four limbs simultaneously can indicate a severe injury at the cervical level of the spinal cord. Sensation loss or alterations in an individual's torso and upper arms can indicate they have sustained an injury to the thoracic region of their spinal cord. If an individual experiences these symptoms in their pelvic area, lower trunk, and or legs, it can indicate an injury to their spinal cord at the lumbar level.
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