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Thread: SCI Medical Question

  1. #1
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    SCI Medical Question

    A SCI Medical Question!!!!!

    My son Brian just called me from Baltimore with a question about his injury. Brian has a C6-C7 complete SCI. Today for the first time he noticed that he was perspiring below his injury level. Is this at all significant.

    Roger

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger
    A SCI Medical Question!!!!!

    My son Brian just called me from Baltimore with a question about his injury. Brian has a C6-C7 complete SCI. Today for the first time he noticed that he was perspiring below his injury level. Is this at all significant.

    Roger
    This is probably his first experience with AD (autonomic dysreflexia), sounds horrible but it is not. It's just his body telling him that something is wrong. Able bodied people experience pain, whereas, people with SCI experience a variety of symptoms when pain would normally be experienced. Most common causes are bladder or bowel pressure and sometimes skin problems. You can research AD here. It probably isin't too bad if all he reports is sweating.

    Hope this helps and good luck.

    Dunc.

  3. #3
    I have a c 6/7 incomplete injury and i sweat below my level of injury when i exercise or when its warm outside. sweating does not necessarily mean AD, imo.

  4. #4
    Sweating occurs when the sweat glands receives sympathetic signals from the spinal cord. Sweating occurs under two circumstances:
    • Temperature sensors in the skin sends information to the spinal cord and these activate sympathetic neurons innervating the sweat glands. These are called segmental sympathetic reflexes.
    • Temperature sensors in the brainstem senses that the body temperature is high and neurons in the brainstem sends signals down the spinal cord to tell different parts of the body to sweat.

    Hypothalamic and brainstem neurons regulate the excitability of segmental reflexes. Thus, for example, if you have an infection and this causes a fever, this means that your central temperature sensor has been reset so that body sweat mechanisms are not activated until higher temperatures are reached. However, when the fever "breaks", the suppression of sweating stops and you start sweating.

    Spinal cord injury interrupts the connections between the brain and the spinal cord. In most people with "complete" spinal cord injury, there is a loss of regulation of segmental reflexes. So, when your brainstem believes that the body is too hot, the signals that it sends to the body to sweat don't get down to their destination.

    Note that all temperature regulation is disrupted, not only sweating but also vasodilation and vasoconstriction, the way by which the body either keeps or releases heat from the skin, in addition to sweating. Many people with spinal cord injury feel abnormally hot or cold (more common), regardless of ambient temperatures.

    So, the occurrence of sweating below the injury site in a person with spinal cord injury can mean three things. First, there has been heating of the body temperature sensors and this is activating segmental sympathetic reflexes to cause sweating. This usually occurs in specific segments. Second, there may be an general increase in excitability of the spinal cord, including sympathetic reflexes. Note that causes of autonomic dysreflexia and some drugs may cause this to happen. Third, there may be recovery of signals passing from the brainstem to the spinal cord.

    I hope that this helps.

    Wise.

  5. #5
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    Dr. Young

    Your answer helps a great deal thank you for taking the time to respond. We appreciate your efforts and dedication more than you can possibly know.

    Roger

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