Frequent question: How delicate is the spinal cord?

The spinal cord is a long, fragile tubelike structure that begins at the end of the brain stem and continues down almost to the bottom of the spine. The spinal cord consists of bundles of nerve axons forming pathways that carry incoming and outgoing messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

What happens if you touch the spinal cord?

If the spine is injured and sensitive tissue is destroyed, nerve and glial cells die within minutes to hours. This first damage is then followed by a “secondary damage”. Blood vessels rupture, leading to swelling and oxygen deficiency in the tissue. Other nerve cells die and the damage spreads.

How thin is the spinal cord?

The diameter of the spinal cord ranges from 13 mm (1⁄2 in) in the cervical and lumbar regions to 6.4 mm (1⁄4 in) in the thoracic area.

How long does it take to walk after spinal cord injury?

The time period a patient needs to rehabilitate depends on the patient’s injury and ability to heal. Some patients can take a few weeks to regain the ability to walk, while others take several months or longer.

Does a spinal cord injury shorten your life?

Life expectancy depends on the severity of the injury, where on the spine the injury occurs and age. Life expectancy after injury ranges from 1.5 years for a ventilator-dependent patient older than 60 to 52.6 years for a 20-year-old patient with preserved motor function.

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Can you fully recover from a spinal cord injury?

In very rare cases, people with spinal cord injury will regain some functioning years after the injury. However, only a small fraction of individuals sustaining a spinal cord injury recover all function.

What would happen if your spine was ripped out?

Injuries can range from relatively mild ligament and muscle strains, to fractures and dislocations of the bony vertebrae, to debilitating spinal cord damage. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may experience pain, difficulty walking, or be unable to move your arms or legs (paralysis).

Is spinal cord fragile?

The spinal cord is a long, fragile tubelike structure that begins at the end of the brain stem and continues down almost to the bottom of the spine. The spinal cord consists of bundles of nerve axons forming pathways that carry incoming and outgoing messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

How long is the average spine?

In humans, the length of the vertebral column is 71 cm in males and 61 cm in females. This diagram shows the curvatures associated with the different regions of the human vertebral column.

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