Abdominal Binder – Wide elastic binder use to help prevent a drop in blood pressure or used for cosmetic purposes to hold in abdomen. A rigid (non-elastic) binder is used to help empty the bladder in some patients.
Aces – Elastic bandage used to wrap extremities to help support and prevent blood pressure from lowering.
Acute rehabilitation program – Primary emphasis on the early rehabilitation phase which usually begins as soon as a person is medically stable. The program is designed to be comprehensive and based in a medical facility with a typical length of stay of 2-3 months. Treatment is provided by and identifiable team in a designated unit.
Adipose tissue – Fatty tissue.
ADL – Activities of daily living: eating, dressing, grooming, shaving, etc. Nurses, occupational and physical therapists are the main coaches for ADL, which is sometimes called DLS or daily living skills.
Afferent – Sensory pathway proceeding toward the central nervous system from the peripheral receptor organs.
Ambulation – “Walking” with braces and/or crutches.
Ankylosis – Fixation of a joint leading to immobility, due to ossification or bony deposits of calcium at joints.
Anterior – The front of anything. Before or toward the front.
Anterior Cord Syndrome – An incomplete spinal injury in which all functions are absent below the level of injury except proprioception and sensation.
Anterior Spinal Artery Syndrome – (also known as Anterior Cord Syndrome) Anterior spinal artery syndrome refers to the anterior spinal artery that originates from the vertebral arteries and basal artery at the base of the brain and supplies the anterior two-thirds of the spinal cord to the upper thoracic (chest) region. The lesion produces variable loss of motor function and of sensitivity to pinprick and temperature, while preserving proprioception (position sense).
Anterio-lateral – To the front and to the side.
Antero-posterior – To the front and to the back.
Antibody – A protein, carried in the blood, produced by the immune to system which will attack germs, viruses, and other invading agents.
Anticholinergic – A drug often prescribed for those with indwelling catheters to reduce spasms of smooth muscle, including the bladder. Anticholinergics block certain receptors (acetylcholine), resulting in inhibition of certain nerve impulses (parasympathetic). Brand names include Daricon, ProBanthine, Urispas, Ditropan, and Cystospaz. Side effects may include constipation, nausea, dry mouth, and blurred vision. Caution: combined with alcohol, anticholinergics can cause extreme drowsiness.
Antidepressant – A drug prescribed to treat depression; standard tricyclic antidepressants include Tofranil, Imvate, Elavil, Norpramin, and Adapin.
Aphasia – The change, or loss, in language function dBrown-Sequard Syndrome – An incomplete spinal cord injury where half of the cord has been damaged. The Brown-Sequard syndrome is caused by a functional section of half of the spinal cord. This results in motor loss on the same side as the lesion and sensory loss on the opposite side. This syndrome is very often associated with fairly normal bowel and bladder function and does not prevent the person from being able to walk, although some functional bracing or ambulatory device such as a cane or crutch may be necessary.
Apraxia – The inability to produce voluntary speech due to a deficit in motor (muscle) programming caused by brain damage.
Arachnoid Membrane – The middle of three membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord.
Arachnoiditis – Inflammation and scarring of the membranes covering the spinal cord.
ASIA Score – A measure of function after spinal cord injury, used by physicians. “A” means complete injury; “E” means full recovery.
Astrocyte – Star-shaped glial cells which provide the necessary chemical and physical environment for nerve regeneration.
Ataxia – Failure or irregularity of muscle coordination.
Atelectasis – Loss of breathing function characterized by collapsed lung tissue.
Atrophy – A wasting away or decrease in size of a cell, tissue, organ, or part of the body due to lack of nourishment. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – Forms of communication that supplement or enhance speech or writing, including electronic devices, picture boards, and sign language.
Autoimmune Response – The body produces a response against itself.
Autonomic Dysreflexia (Hyperreflexia) – A syndrome attributed to interruption of spinal cord sympathetic pathways. It is a condition that can occur in anyone who has a spinal cord injury at or above the T6 level. It is related to disconnections between the body below the injury and the control mechanisms for blood pressure and heart function. It causes the blood pressure to rise to potentially dangerous levels.
Autonomic Nervous System – The part of the nervous system that controls involuntary activities, including heart muscle, glands, and smooth muscle tissue. The autonomic nervous system is subdivided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
Axon – The nerve fiber that carries an impulse from the nerve cell to a target, and also carries materials from the nerve terminals back to the nerve cell. A long, slender part of a neuron that carries the electrochemical signal to another neuron. It’s the main or core nerve fiber which generally conducts impulses away from the cell body.