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Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of your back.
It carries signals back and forth between your body and your brain. Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow that fractures or dislocates your vertebrae, the bone disks that make up your spine. Instead, they cause damage when pieces of vertebrae tear into cord tissue or press down on the nerve parts that carry signals.
Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete. Treatments may include medicines, braces or traction to stabilize the spine, and surgery.
With a complete spinal cord injury, the cord can't send signals below the level of the injury. With an incomplete injury, you have some movement and sensation below the injury. Later treatment usually includes medicines and rehabilitation therapy.