Taking a Look at Spinal Shock

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The term spinal shock was first defined by Whytt in 1750 as a ‘loss of sensation accompanied by motor paralysis with the initial loss but gradual recovery of reflexes following a spinal cord injury’. Spinal shock occurs due to there being a sudden loss of conductivity of electrical signals in the spinal cord, since the potassium ions move from the intracellular space to the extracellular space. When this occurs the body cannot effectively send nerve signal impulses to control automatic reflexes below the site of the spinal cord injury. The symptoms of spinal shock patients are that there are complications such as hypotension because the sympathetic nervous system is unable to regulate vascular tone (contraction of the blood vessels). This is usually the case when the injury is in the cervical spinal cord. Other symptoms include: flexor spasms, tetraplegia, and paraplegia, atonic paralysis and many other symptoms such as a pounding headache and excessive sweating (Patient Education Institute). There are four main phases of spinal shock. They are Hyporeflexia that is due to loss of descending facilitation which is the first phase that last for approximately a day. The second phase initial reflex returns and denervation super sensitivity which occurs within 1-3 days of the spinal shock (Silver, 1970). The third phase takes up to four weeks it’s the initial Hyperreflexia with axon-supported synapse growth. The last phase is the Hyperreflexia and spasticity through

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