Central Cord Syndrome

7 August 2017

Spinal Injury blog series - part seven

The spinal cord relays information from the brain to the rest of the body, and sends signals about the rest of the body to the brain.  If the spinal cord is damaged, messages travelling from the brain to the rest of the body are disrupted and can result in a loss of sensation and movement from below the point of injury.

Central Cord Syndrome is an injury to the centre of the spinal cord, which damages the nerves that carry signals from the brain to the spinal cord.  As a result, the most common characteristic is impairment of motor function above the site of the injury, including paralysis in the arms and hands.  Some also suffer from sensory loss below the level of injury and may have impairment in the legs in addition to loss of bowel, bladder and sexual function.  Some also experience painful sensations such as tingling, and burning.  The extent of functional loss is dependent upon the severity of nerve damage that has been caused.

Central Cord Syndrome is the most common form of incomplete spinal cord injury.  The reason it is called an incomplete spinal cord injury is because the brain's ability to send and receive signals to and from parts of the body below the site of injury is reduced but not entirely blocked.  Therefore, many that suffer from Central Cord Syndrome will recover function, to a degree, after the initial injury through extensive rehabilitation.  Fortunately, the ability to walk can be recovered in some cases, although impairment may remain.  There may also be recovery in bladder, bowel and sexual function and in the arms.  Hand function recovers last, if there is any recovery at all.

Central Cord Syndrome is usually the result of trauma that causes damage to the vertebrae in the neck or herniation of the vertebral discs, which snap the cervical nerves.  Most commonly central nerve syndrome is caused when the cervical spine (neck) is hyperextended beyond the normal range of motion (head pushed back causing extension of the cervical spine).

Central nerve syndrome is often caused by various accidents and incidences of medical negligence.  The most common accidents include road traffic accidents, falls and sports injuries.  Incidents of medical negligence resulting in central nerve syndrome commonly arise from surgical errors, patients being inappropriately transferred/moved while under a general anaesthetic and failure to act on post-operative complications in a timely fashion, for example failure to take a patient back to surgery and remove an internal bleed.

Kingsley Napley is committed to, and experienced in, ensuring that clients that have suffered spinal cord injury receive the necessary support and rehabilitation to ensure they make an optimal recovery.  There is invaluable support available to people that have suffered a spinal cord injury through accidents and medical negligence.  For example, one of these organisations that we work closely with is the Spinal Injuries Association.

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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