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What are symptoms of a spinal cord injury?

Symptoms of spinal cord injury include tingling and weakness in the upper and/or lower body. In severe injuries, the patient may be completely numb and paralyzed. Symptoms will happen below the injury site on both sides of the body. This means that when the spinal cord injury is high in the neck, symptoms will occur in the arms and legs. When the injury is where the neck joins the trunk, symptoms may only happen in the legs. The patient may stop breathing if the injury is at the level of the first through fifth vertebrae.

This answer provided for NATA by the University of Alabama Athletic Training Education Program.

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on what part of the spinal cord is damaged. If the spinal cord injury is to the neck or upper back, symptoms can include problems with breathing, loss of movement, loss of feeling in the arms and legs, and problems using the toilet. If the damage is to the lower back, symptoms can include problems moving and feeling the legs and problems using the toilet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.