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Identifying Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

Spinal cord injury symptoms can differ greatly depending on a variety of factors, including the location and severity of the injury. Defined as an injury to the spinal cord that results in a change in the cord’s normal function, spinal cord damage can be either temporary or permanent. All symptoms appear below the source of the injury.

Spinal cord injuries are also categorized two ways – incomplete or complete. If a person suffers an incomplete spinal cord injury they will retain some level of feeling and movement below the site of the injury. A complete injury results in the loss of all movement and almost all feeling below the injured area of the spine.

Some of the more common symptoms that occur due to spinal cord injuries include:

  • Numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation
  • Loss of movement
  • Pain or intense stinging sensation
  • Impaired breathing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Loss of balance

There are numerous causes of spinal cord injuries, with accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, and other vehicles accounting for nearly 40 percent of all incidents. Falls, acts of violence, and athletic activities, such as diving or high-impact sports, also result in a high percentage of the spinal cord injuries reported in the U.S. each year.

At Tampa General Hospital, we offer the highest level of care and experience possible for patients experiencing spinal cord injury symptoms. The Tampa General Rehabilitation Center, which serves both adult and pediatric patients, is designated by the Florida Department of Health’s Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program as a brain and spinal cord injury center.