Spinal cord injury: Trauma or damage to the spinal cord, the major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies within the vertebral canal and from which the spinal nerves emerge. The spinal cord and the brain constitute the central nervous system. The spinal cord consists of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain. Like the brain, the spinal cord is covered by three connective-tissue envelopes called the meninges. The space between the outer and middle envelopes is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear colorless fluid that cushions the spinal cord against jarring shock.
The spinal cord is very sensitive to injury. Unlike other parts of your body, the spinal cord does not have the ability to repair itself if it is damaged. A spinal cord injury occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord either from trauma, loss of its normal blood supply, or compression from tumor or infection.
Quick GuideSurprising Reasons You're in Pain With Pictures
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Pain Management Resources
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016