Life with a spinal cord injury or disease is demanding enough without secondary symptoms such as spasticity, which tightens muscles and can make daily activities more challenging. That’s why Medtronic developed a treatment technology.
Spinal cord injury refers to damage or trauma (lesion) to the spinal cord itself or to the vertebral column.
Spinal cord injury is usually the result of an accident (for example, motor vehicle accident, fall, sports injury) or acts of violence such as gunshot wounds 2,3 It can also be caused by surgical complications or by disease (for example, transverse myelitis, polio, spina bifida, Friedreich's Ataxia).4
The injury disrupts nerve transmission resulting in impaired or loss of function leading to a reduction in mobility, sensation and reflex activity below the level of the injury. The most common types of spinal cord injury include contusions (bruising), compressions, lacerations and central cord syndrome (specific damage to the nerve tracts of the cervical region of the cord). The majority of traumas leading to broken backs, necks or vertebral fractures do not cause spinal cord damage, spinal cord damage occurs in 10-14% of incidents.
Spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, but some people are at higher risk, including:2,3
Even if the spinal cord has not been severed, a spinal cord injury can still result in loss of function. In fact, most people with impaired functioning due to spinal cord injury still have an intact spinal cord.4
Symptoms of possible spinal cord injury include:3
In addition, studies show that most spinal cord injury survivors have at least one secondary problem resulting from their injury, including:1
Spinal cord injury is usually first diagnosed by loss of function below the injury site, along with other symptoms of spinal cord injury.
If your clinician suspects spinal cord injury, he or she will:
Spasticity is caused by damage or injury to the part of the central nervous system (the brain or spinal cord) that controls voluntary movement. This damage disrupts important signals between the nervous system and muscles, creating an imbalance that increases muscle activity or spasms.
Spasticity can make movement, posture, and balance difficult. It may affect your ability to move one or more of your limbs, or to move one side of your body. Sometimes spasticity is so severe that it gets in the way of daily activities, sleep patterns, and caregiving. In certain situations, this loss of control can be dangerous for the individual.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.