The spinal cord contains the nerves that carry messages between your brain and body. The cord passes through your neck and back. A spinal cord injury is very serious because it can cause loss of movement (paralysis) below the site of the injury or numbness in hand and/or feet.
<strong>A spinal cord injury may be caused by:</strong>
•Bullet or stab wound
•Traumatic injury to the face, neck, head, chest, or back (for example, a car accident)
•Extreme twisting of the middle of the body
•Landing on the head during a sports injury
•Fall from a great height
<strong>Symptoms of a spinal cord injury may include:</strong>
•Head that is in an unusual position
•Numbness or tingling that spreads down an arm or leg
•Paralysis (loss of movement) of arms or legs
•No bladder or bowel control
•Shock (pale, clammy skin; bluish lips and fingernails; acting dazed or semiconscious)
•Lack of alertness (unconsciousness)
•Stiff neck, headache, or neck pain
<strong>The following may lower your risk of spinal injury:</strong>
•Wear seat belts.
•Do not drink and drive.
•Do not dive into pools, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water, particularly if you cannot determine the depth of the water or if the water is not clear.
•Do not tackle or dive into a person with your head.