Posterior Cord Syndrome

31 July 2017

Spinal Injury blog series - part six

A spinal cord injury occurs when the protection surrounding the spinal cord is damaged.  The spinal cord may be severed, bruised, compressed or stretched and there are many different types of spinal cord injuries.  Injuries to the spinal cord are classified as either complete or incomplete.  A incomplete injury means that there is still some ability for the spinal cord to convey messages to and from the brain.  Some sensation and movement may be preserved below the level of injury.  In contrast, there is no motor function or sensation below the level of injury if it is complete.  Posterior cord syndrome is a rare type of incomplete spinal cord injury.

Posterior cord syndrome occurs when the damage is towards the back of the spinal cord.  If the damage occurs towards the front of the spinal cord, then this can cause Anterior Cord Syndrome.

Injury to the posterior part of the cord can result from a car accident, slips and falls or caused by complications arising from medical treatment which could be deemed as negligent.

The posterior spinal cord carries sensory information to the brain.  This includes the ability to feel vibration, sensation to touch, and information about the position of the body and limbs in space (commonly called proprioception).

Posterior Cord Injury Symptoms

Individuals with posterior cord syndrome experience impaired sensation below the site of injury.  Often the sensations of pain and temperature are retained, and there may be unusual sensations such as a prickling feeling or a burning sensation.  However, motor function is usually preserved, and an individual may continue to retain good muscle power.

Often intensive rehabilitation and occupational therapy at a specialist spinal injuries treatment centre is required following a spinal cord injury.  Patients sometimes make a sufficient recovery to resume work and most activities of daily living.  In other instances, there may be permanent functional deficits for which extensive care and support may be necessary.

Every spinal injury is unique and the prognosis varies from individual to individual depending on the type and severity of the injury.  In some cases, sensation and movement can be recovered or significantly improved.  Generally speaking, the sooner the treatment recommendations are implemented, the better the outcome.  It is important to reach out to obtain the right advice at the right time.  A specialist organisation which supports those affected by a spinal injury is the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).  This charity offers a wealth of support and advice and assists with vocational activities, such as working or volunteering.  For an insight of the type of work the SIA do and the opportunities available to those with a spinal injury when the right support network in place, click here to read our recent joint blog with the SIA

If you, or a member of your family, are affected by any of the issues covered in our blogs please contact one of our specialist spinal and back injury lawyers on enquiries@kingsleynapley.co.uk or call us on 0207 814 1200.

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