Types of Spinal Cord Injury

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

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  1. Why knowing type of spinal damage is Important
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Are you or someone you care about living with a spinal cord injury (SCI)? You are not alone. 

According to the World Health Organization, SCI is estimated to affect 250,000–500,000 people in the United States and more than 5 million worldwide every year—resulting in physical, emotional and financial strain on individuals and their families.

At its core, an Spinal Cord Injury impacts communication between your brain and body by damaging nerve cells in the spinal cord which affects movement, sensory inputs like feeling hot or cold, as well as other bodily functions like bladder control. 

Knowing what type of damage has occurred is key to gaining insight into possible treatments for reducing symptoms of specific types of SCIs.

In this post we’ll explore what constitutes an SCI specifically covering different types of injuries that can occur along with related treatment options available today.

Also watch, Treatments used for spine problems & some myths about spine surgeries people have in their minds.

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

Traumatic Injuries :

These are the most common type of SCI, and often occur after a traumatic event like a car accident or physical violence. They can be either complete (when all functioning of the injured area is lost) or incomplete (when some functioning remains). 

Common examples of this type of injury include cervical spine injuries which affect neck movement, thoracic spine injuries to the middle back, lumbar spine injuries to the lower back and sacral spine injuries to the hips and pelvic region.

Non-Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries :

These are typically caused by diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, spina bifida or multiple sclerosis. Depending on how much nerve damage has been done, treatment options focus on reducing symptoms and  improving overall mobility.

In addition to these two main categories of SCI there are also three subcategories that affect different areas and levels of the spine.

These include: 

Anterior cord injuries which occur in the front portion of the spinal cord, Posterior cord injuries which occur in the back portion of the spinal cord, and Central cord injuries which is when both anterior 


Posterior cords are damaged near each other.  It’s important to remember that no two spinal cord injuries are exactly alike, so understanding what type of injury has occurred is critical for successful treatments.

Treatment Options For Spinal Cord Injury

The treatment options available depend on the type and severity of an individual’s injury, but generally  include medications, alternative therapies, rehabilitation and surgery. 

Some commonly prescribed medications include muscle relaxants to reduce spasticity and painkillers to control discomfort associated with the injury. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage and reflexology may also be employed as a way for people to cope better with their injury.

Physical therapy is also an important part of recovery and helps improve strength, coordination and balance while emphasizing on independent living skills. 

In some cases, surgical procedures may be recommended in order to repair or replace damaged nerves or discs in the spine which can help restore movement in the affected area.

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Living With Spinal Cord Injury

Living with SCI can feel daunting at first but with the right kind of treatment plan tailored to your  individual needs, it is possible to regain a good quality of life. 

It’s also important to stay positive and active in order to maximize your recovery potential. Having a support system in place like family and friends can help you stay connected with people who understand what you are going through and provide emotional support when needed.


In conclusion, spinal cord injuries have the potential to affect all aspects of one’s life but understanding the different types of SCI along with available treatments options can greatly improve an individual’s chances for a successful recovery. 

If you or someone close has suffered from SCI, learning about different treatment options can be vital for aiding in recovery.

About Author

Dr. Eshan Nerkar

Neurologist And Neurosuegeon

Dr. Eshan Nerkar, Consultant Brain & Spine Surgeon in Nashik specializes in Spine Surgery. He practices at AXON Brain & Spine Clinic. He is one of the best neurosurgeons in Nashik with more than 10 years of experience. He has performed more than 1000 surgeries related to brain and spinal surgery procedures.

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