The main symptom of spinal cord injury due to trauma is pain. In most cases, the onset of pain is immediate. Rarely, pain develops later. Pain caused by spinal cord injury can occur anywhere in the spine, but spinal cord injuries are most common in the cervical and lumbar regions. If spinal cord injury causes irritation of nerve tissue, pain can radiate to the different parts of the body. In most cases, it radiates to the legs and arms and is accompanied by tingling, burning, numbness, or muscle cramps. Short-term paralysis may also occur.
If spinal cord injury causes compression or rupture of the spinal cord, long-standing paralysis may occur. Loss of motor and sensory functions in the lower trunk and legs occurs due to injury of the lumbar spine, and total paralysis occurs due to trauma of the cervical spine. In severe cases of spinal cord injury, when the spinal cord is significantly compressed or ruptured, paraplegia with bowel and bladder incontinence often occurs.