Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the nerves within the spinal canal, interfering with communication between the brain and the rest of the body. A vertical tunnel called the spinal canal is located behind the vertebral bodies. The spinal canal contains the spinal cord and protects it from injuries.
The spinal cord is a tubular bundle of nervous tissue. It extends from the base of the skull to the level just below the last rib, continuing further down the canal as a bundle of free nerves. It serves as the communication system between the brain and the body, carrying messages about movement and feeling.
Symptoms occur below the injury site. They can include weakness, paralysis, and a wide range of other problems. Most spinal cord injuries may cause permanent nerve damage and often lead to disability. But many scientists are optimistic about the future treatment, as advanced technology may someday be able to repair spinal cord injuries.