Pronounced: SEN-tral CORD SIN-droh-m
Central cord syndrome (CCS) is a type of incomplete spinal cord injury. CCS is marked by damage to the nerve fibers that bring messages from the brain to the body. This condition affects how you can use your arms and hands, and in some cases, your legs. There may be a loss of sensation and motor control.
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CCS is caused by damage to the central part of the spinal cord. This damage may occur when the neck is hyperextended. This can be associated with:
Common causes of injury include:
CSS can also be due to:
Males over 50 are more likely to have this condition. Other factors that increase your chance of CCS include:
Symptoms of CCS may include:
If CCS is due to trauma, symptoms usually come quickly. Sometimes, however, symptoms may come more slowly.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A neurologic exam may also be done.
Images may be taken of your spinal cord. These can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Rehab can take a long time for some people. If you are young and have more muscle function, you have a better chance of recovering.
Treatment options include the following:
In most cases, surgery is not needed. Often treatment involves:
Surgery is needed if there is a large compression of the spinal cord fibers. Surgery may also be done after a period of recovery. For example, if you still have cord compression after a recovery period.
To help reduce your chance of a spinal cord injury:
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Spinal Research Organization
Spinal Cord Research Centre
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NINDS central cord syndrome information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/central_cord/central_cord.htm. Updated October 24, 2014. Accessed November 20, 2014.
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Rich V, McCaslin E. Central cord syndrome in a high school wrestler: a case report. J Athl Train. 2006;41(3):341-344.
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Spinal cord injury—chronic management. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T566521. Updated December 18, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Traumatic brain injury. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html. Updated November 4, 2010. Accessed November 20, 2014.
Visocchi M, Di Rocco F, Meglio M. Subacute clinical onset of post-traumatic myelopathy. Acta Neurochir (Wein). 2003;145(9): 799-804.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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