• <span>“It can happen to anyone.”</span><br>

    “It can happen to anyone.”

    Nico Langmann from Austria

Spinal cord injury

More than being unable to walk


In most cases, paralysis is caused by acute damage to the spinal cord following a traumatic injury. Nerve fibres are disrupted and nerve cells at, and around, the site of injury are destroyed.

A lesion of the spinal cord not only impacts the ability to move your limbs; the injury also causes a large number of health-related complications and limitations in daily life.

Living with spinal cord injury

People affected tell their stories

It can happen to anyone



The higher, the worse

The type of disability which occurs after the spinal cord is injured depends on the severity of injury and the location of the injured segment of the spinal cord. In cases of complete paralysis, all functions below the level of injury will be lost.

After a spinal cord injury, the nerve fibres which send motor signals from the brain to the torso and the limbs are impaired and this causes paralysis of the muscles. Destruction of sensory nerve fibres leads to loss of sensations such as touch, pain and the ability to distinguish between hot and cold.

Less well-known is that spinal cord injury can also severely limit bladder and bowel control, sexual performance and blood pressure.

Cervical Nerves
Thoracic Nerves
Lumbar Nerves
Sacral Nerves

Learn more about the spinal cord as a part of the central nervous system
and the influence of damage on the body.


Building a better future

The diagnosis of “paraplegia” following a spinal cord injury is likely to become a thing of the past because scientists agree unanimously: injured nerve cells in the spinal cord are capable of regeneration.

Helpful links

For people affected

If you would like advice or support on the day-to-day help and care for people affected by spinal cord injuries, please contact one of the following organisations: