Your Best Health Care

Your spine allows you to help stand up straight and do some pretty amazing movements. It aids in the control of your ability to feel pain also. The “cord” is that nerve that runs from top to bottom through the middle of your vertebrae and connects with the nerves in your body. If the spinal cord is injured, the affects can be debilitating not only but also psychologically to the individual physically, and to the family often.

Your world instantly changes. Learning that you, a family member or friend has gotten a spinal cord injury is devastating and overwhelming news, in line with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The best way to combat your feelings of helplessness and confusion is to arm yourself with information on what a spinal cord injury is, and what it means in words and phrases of short-term planning and long-range goals.

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18 inches in length and extends from the base of the brain, surrounded by the vertebral bodies, {down the middle of the back,|down the middle of the relative back,} to about the waist. The nerves that are situated within the spinal cord are called upper motor neurons (UMNs) and their function is to carry the messages back and forth from the brain to the spinal nerves along the spinal tract.

The spinal nerves that branch out from the spinal cord to the other parts of the body are called lower motor neurons (LMNs). {These spinal nerves exit and enter at each vertebral level and communicate with specific areas of the body.|These spinal nerves enter and exit at each vertebral level and communicate with specific areas of the body.} {The sensory portions of the LMN carry messages about sensation from the skin such as pain and temperature,|The sensory portions of the LMN carry messages about sensation from the skin such as temperature and pain,} and other body parts and organs to the brain.

The motor portions of the LMN send messages from the brain to the various body parts to initiate actions such as muscle movement, per the info on the Apparelyzed site. The spinal cord is the major bundle of nerves that carry nerve impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body. The brain and the spinal cord constitute the Central Nervous System.

Motor and sensory nerves outside the central nervous system constitute the Peripheral Nervous System, and another diffuse system of nerves that control involuntary functions such as blood pressure and temperature regulation are the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems. Much more detail about spinal cord injuries can be found at the Apparelyzed website. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), any damage to the spinal cord is a very complex injury.

People who are injured are often confused when trying to understand what it means to be a person with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Will I be able to move my hands? {Will I walk again?|Will I again walk?} What can I do? {Each injury is different and can affect the body in many different ways.|Each injury is different and can affect the physical body in many different ways.} Damage to the spinal cord can occur from either a traumatic injury or from a disease to the vertebral column. In most spinal cord injuries, the backbone pinches the spinal cord, {causing it to become bruised or swollen.|causing it to become swollen or bruised.}

Sometimes the injury may tear the spinal cord and/or its nerve fibers. An infection or a disease can {result in|lead to|bring about|cause} similar damage. After a spinal cord injury, {all the nerves above the level of injury keep working like they always have.|all the nerves above the known level of injury keep working like they always have.} {From the point of injury and below,|From the true point of injury and below,} the spinal cord nerves cannot send messages between the brain and parts of the body like they did before the injury.

The doctor or specialist examines the individual to understand what damage has been done to the spinal cord. An X-ray shows where the damage occurred to the vertebrae. The doctor does a “pin prick” test to see what feeling the person has all over his body (sensory level). {The doctor also asks,|The doctor asks,} “what parts of the body can you move?” and tests the strength of key muscle groups (motor level).