I just sit and stare at the images trying to figure it all out. Of course I can't but it gives me some idea as to what is going on in my body.
My injury was 19 years ago and I sure wasn't given much info then. I couldn't tell you what ASIA I am and no one has even bothered to tell me. Until I found these SCI forums last year I was living in a bubble because I had never met anyone that "lived like I do". I've learned more through the forums than I have with any doctor. This is partly my fault because I gave up on them because I always felt as if I was being given the run around. It was almost as if they thought I was imagining these things. I assure them, at no time did I imagine having a bowel accident in public. Thankfully I have limited those to few and far between.
My injury is L1-L2. I have been fortunate to walk with the assistance of AFO braces. My thighs are very muscular because they do all of the work. From the knees down I am skin stretched over the bone. I am very active and at times I am afraid I will snap a bone and put myself in a predicament. I'm not sure how common this is but it does stick in my mind.
I would love to sit down with a neurosurgeon and get some of my questions answered. Are there things out there that could ease my pains, make my quality of life better and what I should or should not be doing. The new health care laws make getting a referral the same as getting an act of Congress as I have learned in the past few weeks with pain management. However, I am going to pursue this further because I have a right to know what is going on.
I thank each of you for sharing your knowledge and experience and as I move forward I will definitely post anything and everything that I find out.
I'm glad you're finding the forum helpful jeff1967 I think it's great to have a place where people in similar situations can share stuff regarding their condition and how they deal with it!
Im just going to add bits every day and then hopefully put into a download for the forum so Il just explain a little each day!
So the easy bit that we have discussed so far is that the brain works with the Spinal cord to communicate with our body, its muscles, sensation and automatic movements such as heart beat, breathing , blinking etc.
The brain sends messages to the body from the hindbrain section of the brain, the message/signal passes down the spinal cord and leaves the spinal cord via spinal nerves.
These nerves then continue to relay the message to where it is intended, lets say to the foot to lift it.
Problem is the foot dosent move....why so? Well the message didnt reach it, couldnt reach it...But the injury is at C level so why are the Lumbar nerves and the lower limbs affected?
Unfortunately, the damage at the actual injury level causes the everything below the injury level to be affected, function can be zero or limited, depending of the severity of injury at the injury level.
The cord and the nerves below this injury level are most probably healthy, but the message from the brain cannot reach to them, this means no function or no feel ( if the damage prevents the signal from the skin surface to the brain),depending on the extent of damage, position etc.
So some individuals with SCI have some sensation but not movement, it would seem ( in my understanding) that as we are touched below injury level and we 'feel' then this can be contributed to the fact that the sensory nerves that lead back to the spinal cord are able to pass through the spinal nerve, through the cord and to the brain to process what is felt.
This would suggest that the injury was at an angle across the spinal cord at the injury level or an incomplete injury of the cord and not causing damage to the part of the cord where the sensory nerves enter the cord.
The sensory and motor nerves lead to and from the spinal cord at different positions but they do form one spinal nerve as they join just outside the spinal cord. As this image shows below, we can see how the red and blue represents the two nerve roots, forming a spinal nerve.
In order to understand the brain's response to Spinal Cord Injury, we need to understand the interaction and relationship between the brain and the Spinal cord. Lets try and make it easy!
The Spinal cord is about the diameter of a human finger and descends from the brain, down the middle of the back.
It consists of millions of nerve fibres which transmit electrical information to and from the limbs, trunk and organs of the body, back to and from the brain.
The spinal cord is surrounded by a clear fluid called Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF), that acts as a cushion to protect the delicate nerve tissues from damage from banging against the inside of the vertebrae.
The cord and fluid are all encased within a bony vertebral column
The nerves which carry information from the brain to muscles are called Motor Neurones.
Sensory Neurones are the nerves which carry information from the body back to the brain It is these Sensory Neurones that tell your brain that you feel pain and about your skin temperature and touch.
Of course this is what happens with 'normal function' but for those with Spinal Cord Injury this process is affected. The brain tries to make some sense of what is going on with the body and thats not an easy task and where we feel the issues.
After my injury, I needed to make sense of what was going on with my body, I asked every specialist or medical person I came into contact with. The answer was 'Its damaged nerves' That answer just is not good enough.
My brain may not be able to connect efficiently with my body but my logic is still intact so let me process this understanding, explain to me...!
In the end I carried out my own 'research' because it was a strong internal need to make sense of all this oddness that I was experiencing.
My feet taught me the best understanding possible with this dysfunction of the nerves that we compressed and this unable to do their job.
By the way, i just wanted to say, isn't it funny when we read about our badly behaving 'interrupted' signals when talking of nerve damage and loss of movement. Doesn't it sound so polite..its almost like ''excuse me, i'm just interrupting your nerves for a moment ( or a lifetime), you may lose feeling or movement for this minor interruption but hey ''
Look here mister...we arent talking about a train service here that re establishes once the interruption is resolved! lol :o
Anyways, back to my feet, my brain tries to figure out what is going on here, some signals although interrupted reaches my feet and then goes tell my brain they are on fire! I expect that my brain isnt getting any signal back that makes any logic so it goes back to tell my feet they are on fire and all that just so I check up they are still there because as far as my brain goes, I could have had them amputated and it wouldn't register.
I hope this makes some sense, im going to do a bit of a series of posts on this just so we can make some sense of it.
I'm new here & my daughter is the one who has the SCI but wanted to ask a question regarding the legs is any one using e-stim? It has helped my daughter get her tone & muscles back in her legs,like I said I'm new here & also trying to make sense of this all.
By e-stim is she just placing pads on a certain muscle to try to activate that muscle or is she doing something like FES (functional electrical stimulation) which targets a group of muscles? Whatever it is, I think there are benefits to electric stimulation for sure. I have no motor function in my legs but by doing FES it helps keep my leg muscles from atrophying.