Paediatric spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord gets damaged following

  • An accident, falls, sporting injuries or following disease such as polio, spina bifida, transverse myelitis.

The damage to the spinal cord might be due to severing ( total or partial), crushing / compression or over stretching / tearing.


  • Trauma
  • Accident
  • Diseases such as polio, spina bifida, transverse myelitis
  • During gymnastics in children
  • Child abuse

During childbirth

  • traction on an infants trunk
  • over-stretching of the spinal cord
  • hyper extension of the fetal head from abnormal birthing positions
  • brachial plexus palsy related damage to the spinal cord and nerves

Signs & symptoms

  • Loss of touch sensation
  • Failure to move/ paralysis
  • Bowel & bladder control problems
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Spasms
  • Stinging pain caused by nerve damage around spinal cord
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscular weakness
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Trouble walking
  • Poor posture
  • Loss of functional movement


  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI


  • Immobilization
  • Maintenance of oxygenation
  • Spinal cord perfusion
  • Supportive care
  • Surgical stabilization when appropriate
  • Long term symptomatic care & rehabilitation

Physiotherapy treatment

  • Stretching : to maintain muscle & tendon length, reduce spasticity
  • Strengthening exercise
  • Breathing exercise : to maximize ling function &prevent chest infection
  • Walking re-education
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Manual percussion, vibration
  • Postural drainage