A spinal cord injury is damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal, according to Mayo Clinic. Spinal cord injuries affect strength, nerve sensation, and other body functions.
There are two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries can result in loss of the majority of feeling and motor function below the injured area. Individuals who still have some motor or sensory functions generally have an incomplete spinal cord injury.
A complete spinal cord injury can result in permanent paralysis, according to BrainandSpinalCord.org. Patients who experience a permanent loss of movement and sensation at the T1 level or below may experience complete paraplegia, which affects the trunk, legs and pelvic organs. A complete injury that damages the spinal cord between levels C1 through C8 can result in complete tetraplegia, which affects the arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs.