Effects of SCI on Motor skills, reflexes, sensation and elimination

When the spinal cord can’t relay the signals from the brain to some area of our body, our motor skills cannot function properly. High injuries to spinal cord usually inhibit our ability of movement of all our limbs, whereas lesser injuries impede the movement of our legs.  This is regarded as a serious health issue and conditions such as this can cause disability.

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Spinal Cord Injury and its Effects on the Reflexes:

We probably do not give them much but the reflexive responses keep us safe. They could be life-saving. i.e. Catching ourselves as we fall could spare us from a head injury.

Reflexes started to function independent of our brains, hence they take place without any plan or thoughts. Our spinal cord coordinates our reflexes, fast receiving a signal of danger & then alarming the affected area how to safeguard. When the spinal cord gets injured, even our reflexes would do not work & may stop working completely.

Spinal Cord Injury and its Effects on the Sensation:

Our spinal cord assists in sending signals to our brain regarding the surrounding world. The spinal cord injuries undermine this important role. In most of the cases, the same parts of our body which suffer the loss of motor control also feel an obvious loss of sensation. We may also experience unusual or new sensation mentioned below:-

  • Phantom pain, like feeling tingling or burning even though nothing touches us.
  • Electrical sensations in our limbs
  • Unexplained chronic which could be either in a part affected due to an injury or some unrelated part.

Spinal Cord Injury and its Effects on our Excretory System:

Defecation & urination are the complex bodily processes which depend on both involuntary & voluntary control. If we cannot feel pressure in our bowels or bladder, we would not know that we require to go to the toilet.  Depending on the nature of our injuries, our muscles which control such functions may not work also. Several survivors of spinal cord injury require assistance for eliminating functions, mainly in the early days post an injury. This problem could be short-term or we may find that we require making a long-run use of some colostomy bag or a catheter.