What is an Acute Spinal Cord Injury?

The spinal cord runs down your back from the base of the brain down to the level of your abdomen. It contains bundles of nerve fibers (axons) that connect the body to the brain, and also neurons specialized for the initial steps of sensation and the final processing necessary to control movement. The spinal cord is soft and fragile, but well protected by surrounding bones in the vertebral column. Certain injuries, most commonly due to traffic accidents and gunshot wounds, can damage the spinal cord. The first effects of this injury are acute. After time, the injury either heals (if it was not severe) or it becomes chronic, and perhaps permanent. The profound consequences of permanent spinal injury (leading to problems like paraplegia) have motivated a lot of biomedical research, but best is to avoid the accident.