After you sustain any kind of traumatic injury to your spinal cord, you are likely to experience spinal shock, or the temporary reduction or loss of reflexes that results from the injury. The spinal cord, bundles of delicate nerves encased within a protective spinal column of vertebrae, serves as the communication superhighway for your brain to transmit signals to the rest of your body. The spinal cord is part of the autonomic nervous system, which controls your reflexes.
Spinal shock is the temporary reduction of or loss of reflexes following a spinal cord injury (SCI). Reflexes -- such as the ability to pull your hand away from a hot stove without thinking -- are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. In general, the more severe the injury, the more severe the autonomic dysfunction will be. However, spinal shock alone cannot be used to determine prognosis or assess the severity of a spinal cord injury.
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