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Thread: C2 contusion

  1. #1

    C2 contusion

    This is my first post to this forum. I've been reading through the topics for the last week or so and I've found it very informative.

    My injury occurred on October 1st, 2001. I suffered a contusion at the C2 level. I have some movement and feeling throughout my body. I can lift my arms, but not enough to feed myself or scratch my nose. My legs are strong enough to support my weight. I'm working on a mixed bag of exercise - weight assisted gait training, standing, spinning bike, hand cycle, pool therapy, and much more. If anyone is interested you can check out my progress at

    Anyway, my question is what is the difference between an acute contusion and a chronic contusion? I saw these terms used in quite a few postings and I'm curious. I guess I'm not sure what type I have and what difference it would make in my life over the next few years. I've got lots of other questions, but I will save them for other posts.

  2. #2

    sorry about your injury

    I'm a complete layman but I reckon that after more than 12 months your injury is probably now a chronic contusion type.

    As it is obviously a very incomplete injury there's probably no cut off date for getting recovery back especially if you can keep excercising.

  3. #3

    Acute spinal cord injury whether due to trauma or ischemia refers to the period after spinal cord injury during which the injury is still progressing. Immediately after a contusion, the spinal cord does not appear severely damaged. Over several hours after the injury, the injury site becomes necrotic (i.e. shows evidence of cellular and tissue dissolution, swelling, and hemorrhage). Treatment with a 24-48 course of intravenous high-dose methylprednisolone (a steroid) reduces the tissue damage and improves neurological recovery by an average of about 20%. However, if the treatment is started more than 8 hours after injury, it not only does not seem to help but may aggravate the injury. Additional cell loss continues to occur in the spinal cord over several weeks, as axons that have been injured and separated from their cell bodies degenerate. The delayed cell loss appears in two waves in animal studies, a form of cell death called apoptosis or programmed cell death. Inflammatory cells such as macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes enter the injury site, cleaning up the damaged cells. Glial cells proliferate along with blood vessel regrowth into the area of injury.

    Traditionally, the term "chronic spinal cord injury" refers to the period when there is no more injury or recovery, i.e. when neurological recovery has stabilized or "plateaued". Recent studies, however, suggest that recovery may continue to take place even years after injury, making this definition less useful. However, the word chronic usually refers to the period when the spinal cord injury is no longer changing. Everybody has an acute and chronic stage in their injury.

    What you have is apparently an "incomplete" spinal cord injury at C2. This term is usually applied to people who have neurological function below the injury site. Note that many people have an injury level but some other level below which they have no motor or sensory function. The current classification of spinal cord injury defines "complete" spinal cord injury as having any level below which there is no voluntary motor or sensory function. For example, a person who has a C2 injury but has a motor and sensory level at C4 would still be called a "complete" spinal cord injury. In fact, a person who has a C2 injury but does not have anal sensation or voluntary anal sphincter contraction would still be "complete" in the sense that he/she has a level below which there is no neurological function (i.e. S5).

    I describe acute and chronic spinal cord injury in an article located in the main carecure community site. There is also a description of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) classification of spinal cord injury and spinal levels in another article.


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