Spinal Cord Injury Terminology | Swope, Rodante P.A.
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SCI Terminology

Adaptive Equipment-
Equipment and devices used to assist with daily activities and help patients achieve independence.

A term that stands for activities of daily living which include eating, dressing, grooming, shaving, etc. Can also be referred to as DLS (daily living skills).

The ability to walk.

Anterior cord syndrome–
An incomplete spinal injury which stops all functions below the level of injury excluding proprioception and sensation.

A prescription drug often used to indwell catheters to reduce spasms of smooth muscle, including the bladder.

The loss of joint mobility which is caused by bony deposits of calcium at joints.

The measurement used to determine the neurological state of an individual who has sustained an SCI. Injuries are measured from ‘A’ to ‘E’ (‘A’ meaning complete injury and ‘E’ meaning full recovery).

Bladder Training–
System in which the bladder is trained to empty without the use of an indwelling catheter.

Bowel program– Establishing a schedule to empty the bowel at a specific time.

C1 – C4–
Individual can experience loss of involuntary functions such as the ability to breathe.

Individual can have shoulder and biceps control, but wrist and hand will not function.

Individual will typically have wrist function but no function of the hand.

C7 and T1-
Individual can extend and straighten arms, but may have difficulty with hands and fingers.

A flexible rubber or plastic tube used to remove or introduce fluids into a cavity of the body, usually the bladder.

The upper neck area of the vertebral column.

Complete injury-
An injury resulting in the loss of motor or sensory function below the damaged area.

Condom Catheter-
External catheter used by men.

A form of paralysis which results in soft and limp muscles.

Foley Catheter-
A rubber tube placed from the urethra which to the bladder which is used to empty the bladder.

Gait training-
Exercises which provide instruction in walking, with or without adaptive equipment.

Incomplete Injury-
Partial sensor and/or motor function remains below the level of injury.

Indwelling Catheter-
A flexible tube placed in the bladder that continuously drains urine into a leg bag.

Intermittent Catheterization (ICP)-
The scheduled use of a catheter to empty the bladder. Can also be referred to as self-catheterization.

Reduced blood flow which is believed to be a primary cause of secondary injury to the brain or spinal cord after trauma.

An operation which reduces pressure on the spinal cord and/or is used determine the extent of damage.

Lumbar Paraplegia-
Individual typically uses a manual wheelchair and can walk for distances of 150 feet or more with an assisted device. Some can learn to walk for short distances with assisted devices.

Motor development-
The gradual development of complete control of voluntary motor movements.

Occupational Therapy (OT)-
Structured activity which helps redevelop fine motor skills. Patients also learn techniques for dressing, bathing, self-grooming, preparing food, etc. Families are often taught strategies for safe and effective care giving.

Complete paralysis of the lower half of the body.

Physical Therapy (PT)-
Structured activity which includes exercise programs geared toward muscle strengthening and endurance, maintaining range of motion, improving coordination and regaining mobility, often with the use of assisted devices.

Pressure Sore-
Pressure on the skin which causes it to break down and leads to infection and destroys tissue. Can also be referred to as a decubitus ulcer.

Occurs when any injured or diseased cervical spinal cord segment loses function and, subsequently, affects all four body limbs. Can also be referred to as tetraplegia.

Individual empties the bladder on one’s own, reducing the risk of infection.

Hyperactive muscles that move or jerk involuntarily. These often indicate problems in the injured area or an oncoming urinary tract infection.

Spinal Shock–
A condition which causes the system to shut down.

Suprapubic Catheter-
A surgically inserted catheter.

T1 – T8-
Individual generally has hand function but will have difficulty with trunk control.

T9 – T12-
Individual has good trunk and abdominal function.

Thoracic Cord-
The vertebrae located between the lumbar and cervical areas