Early neurologic assessment of the patient with spinal cord injury

Paul M. Arnold, Tanya Z. Filardi, Robert D. Strang, Joan K. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A thorough knowledge of patterns of spine and spinal cord injury is necessary in the evaluation of the patient with acute spine injury. A systematic, thorough examination is critical in providing lifesaving care, as well as in preventing further neurologic injury. This article reviews fracture patterns and emergency assessment and management of the patient with spinal cord injury. We review the significant aspects of the neurologic exam, including evaluation of the motor and sensory systems, and the description of typical spinal cord injury syndromes. The combination of a comprehensive history and detailed neurologic assessment helps ensure optimal management of the patient with a spinal cord injury and aids in ensuring maximal neurologic outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Neurologic deficit
  • Neurologic examination
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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