The spinal cord is an extension of the brain, made up of a thick bundle of nerves running through the spine. It allows the brain to control and communicate with the rest of our body. So functions like movement and sensations are dependent on the spinal cord - it’s also crucial to controlling things such as blood pressure, breathing, bladder and bowel functions.
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are often categorized as a complete injury, when there’s a total loss of sensation and muscle function, or incomplete, meaning some nerve signals are able to travel past the injured area of the cord.
How can spinal cords be damaged?
Typically, SCIs are caused by a trauma such as an accident, an infection or disease. Obviously, if the spinal cord is damaged, many links between the brain and the rest of the body are affected.