Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

Our Membership Community

Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

Ask Us

United Spinal’s Ask Us program connects you with information, resources, and access to our “Ask Us Spinal Cord Central” help center. Browse the Knowledge Books below for answers to your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for just Ask Us and one of our knowledgeable staff will provide you with answers.

What is SCI/D?

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What is SCI/D? 2017-06-19T20:12:52+00:00

What Is Spinal Cord Injury/Disorders (SCI/D)?

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure.

There are approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injuries in the United States each year. Vehicle crashes are currently the leading cause of injury, followed by falls, acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds), and sports/recreation activities.

What Are Spinal Cord Disorders?

Spinal cord injury is not the only cause of damage to the spinal cord. Certain conditions can also damage the spinal cord. These conditions, diseases and disorders are known as spinal cord disorders or spinal cord diseases.
There are many different types, below are a few common ones:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. One or two out of 100,000 people develop ALS each year.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disorder that affects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. MS symptoms often worsen, improve, and develop in different areas of the body. Early symptoms of the disorder may include vision changes (blurred vision, blind spots) and muscle weakness. MS affects about 500,000 people in the U.S.

Post-Polio

Polio—also known as poliomyelitis—is a contagious viral disease that attacks the central nervous system and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and weakness. While the disease has been virtually conquered in many areas of the world through vaccines, some survivors of childhood polio have been experiencing a new syndrome called “post-polio” that typically emerges 25 to 30 years after the initial attack. Post-polio occurs in approximately 25–50 percent of people who survive a poliomyelitis infection.

Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect. In the developing vertebrate nervous system, the neural tube is the precursor of the central nervous system. Neural tube defects result from the failure of the spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. Worldwide incidence of spina bifida is 1–2 cases per 1,000 births, but certain populations have a significantly greater risk.