Effect of Spinal Cord Injury

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Effect of Spinal Cord Injury
Secondary damage takes a cumulative toll
Nerve cells self-destruct
Free radicals attack nerve cells
Spinal Cord
An invasion of immune system cells creates inflammation
Excessive release of neurotransmitters kills nerve cells
Changes in blood flow cause ongoing damage
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. www.ninds.nih.gov
A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Axons are cut off or damaged beyond repair, and neural cell membranes are broken. Blood vessels may rupture and cause heavy bleeding in the central grey matter, which can spread to other areas of the spinal cord over the next few hours.