What happens to spinal cord tissue after injury?

The spinal cord is an essential part of the central nervous system responsible for transmitting information from the brain to other parts of the body. It helps us move, feel sensations and control internal processes such as breathing and digestion.

However, when you experience a spinal cord injury (SCI), this essential communication can be disrupted or even severed completely. It’s painful, frustrating, and makes you wish that you had chosen a different hobby instead of running towards that ball like your life depended on it.

The Immediate Effects

Immediately after suffering an SCI, several things happen in your body:

Cell Death & Inflammation

When there is trauma to any part of your body, including the spinal cord tissues, this triggers a series of events aimed at repairing damaged cells and tissue around injured areas; however, these repairs often come at significant costs.

In SCI cases, death of some neural cells occurs which leads to inflammation [1]: inflammatory signals are sent out telling molecules what they must do repairing blood vessels , draining fluids outgerms attacks needed materials from circulating if present while also producing new blood-forming stem cell colonies throughout inflamed sites in response because inflammatory responses promote healing [2].


Spinal cords comprise nerves and fibers housed within protective layers made up mainly by bones called vertebrae designed form bony armor meant for structural stability protection[3] .

During injuries, fragments tend se escape through vulnerability underground causing bleeding into neighboring spaces resulting in compression injury). Depending on where the bleeds occur within tissues surrounding affected areas hinders effective nerve signaling pathways between adjacent neurones causing either complete paralysis below injured segments or sparing enough connections so muscle control is slightly diminished – which again could manifest differently depending quality repair provided[4].

Long-Term Effects Of A Spinal Cord Injury

As mentioned earlier, initial effects are only temporary. However, depending on the severity of your SCI, you could notice some permanent long-term effects.

Loss Of Sensory & Motor Functions

SCI happens mainly due to compression or severance of one or more neural motor/sensory pathways. This could result in paralysis or loss of bodily sensations depending on whether it was a partial/completed injury[5].

Suppose the affected neurones are either not replaced/repaired quickly enough before they die out (necrosis) [6]. In that case, this compromises effective communication for appropriate movement function and response coordination resulting in;

  • Paraplegia: The loss of sensory/motor functions from thoracic 12 vertebrae downward areas

  • Quadriplegia: Affects cervical region which comprises neck, shoulders head upwards causing total upper-body disability including breathing and swallowing difficulties; along with varying degrees hand movements, tend to be preserved when cervical injuries aren’t too severe [7].

Chronic Pain

The human brain is complex but fascinating; there’s even science showing how certain habits can lead to prolonged states chronic pain like ‘phantom limb syndrome,’ wherein amputees experience feelings pain/itching where their missing appendage used have been after surgery – while another part continues inputting electrical impulses telling them they must fix something that no longer exists[8] ! Similarly, if nerves around injured spinal tissue get trapped tangle up rerouting signals constantly back forth because achieving adequate functioning both mind body just feels impossible outside obtaining relief through intensive physical therapy coupled with psychosocial support intervention talking about what happened[9].

Treatment Options For Spinal Cord Injury

Current research has identified two main approaches that scientists use when addressing spinal cord injuries:

Nerve Regeneration Therapies

In laboratory studies, scientists have successfully grown new nerve fibers using stem cells taken during autopsies surgeries positively impacting nerve regeneration therapies [10]. Another way involves figuring out the crucial signaling pathways needed for nerve development and using molecular components to fast-track their formation.

Electrical Stimulation Therapy

Electrical stimulation therapy uses low doses of electrical currents to stimulate damaged tissue around injured regions. This technique has been used successfully, especially in patients able retain partial sensory capacity[11].


In summary, a spinal cord injury is an incredibly life-altering occurrence that can leave you with long-term effects such as loss of bodily function or chronic pain. However, ongoing research shows promise towards successful treatment interventions that could help restore normalcy after suffering from SCI injuries – hopefully reaching clinical effectiveness soon![12]

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