Friday, June 19, 2020

Sensation and SCI

Sensation after spinal cord injury is complex.  Every SCI is different, and in many ways, feeling and sensation are a testimony to the amazing intricacy of the central nervous system.

What do you physically feel after SCI?  It truly varies from person to person.  Some people have no sensation and no movement or muscle function, others have complete sensation and no movement, and yet others have no sensation and full movement or at least some ability to stand or walk.  Personally, I have a mix of sensation and function.  It's relatively little of what anyone else might call "normal" sensation, and more of what you might call "deep" sensation: noticing pain, the discomfort of a big wrinkle in a pant leg, or pressure on a bony part of the knee, for instance. 

An interesting aspect of sensation is how much you notice it when it's gone.  I have a much harder time walking without seeing my feet.  This is because the body subconsciously relies so heavily on feeling.  (Proprioception is the term for your body's awareness of where it is and how it is positioned.)  But if you have ever heard people say that they knew what had happened as soon as they suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury, it's true that you can tell the difference before and after injury, and it can be in an instant. 

Questions or suggestions?  Please comment below!

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