Central Cord Syndrome

Central Cord Syndrome or CCS is an injury in the cervical cord which results to wide motor weakness mostly in the upper extremities than in the lower extremities. There are different kinds if spinal cord injury (SCI) and they are grouped to six different SCI syndromes namely CCS or Central Cord Syndrome, ACS or Anterior Cord Syndrome, CMS or conus medullaris syndrome, BSS or Brown Sequard syndrome, PCS or Posterior Cord Syndrome and CES or Cauda equina syndrome (J Spinal Cord Med. 2007).

Figures shows that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury is about forty million in the United States alone with about eleven thousand new cases every year. The most common spinal cord syndrome among the six mentioned above is the CCS or Central Cord Syndrome (JAMA, April 1971). Most patients with SCI need inpatient rehabilitation during its acute period.

Causes of Central Cord Syndrome

Central Cord Syndrome is a result from posterior and anterior compression in the spinal cord which often results to hemorrhage, edema or ischemia in the central section of the spinal cord. The location of most of these injuries is found in the middle to lower cervical cord. In this case the arms are more affected than the legs.

Symptoms of Central Cord Syndrome

The most common symptoms of CCS are motor weakness in the upper extremities and do not affect much the lower extremities. Although there might be a sensory loss below the level of affected area and urinary retention may both happen.

This syndrome affects those patients who are advance in age, individuals who are fifty years old and above and they most likely affect males more than females. Although this may strike younger individuals especially athletes who suffers hyperextension injuries in the neck.

Diagnosis of such conditions include complete medical history of the patient, complete neurological exam and some imaging test like X-Rays, CT scan and MRI.

Treatment for such condition usually involves non-surgical and surgical treatment. Surgical treatment is not necessary if the condition is not that severe. Doctor often recommends non-surgical treatment which involves immobilization of the neck, steroids and rehabilitation involving occupational and physical therapy.

Most patients who suffer from CCS recovers from its motor function. Recovery may even be sooner if the cause of their CCS is edema. The leg function is mostly the first to return followed by bladder control and arm movement. The last would be the hand and finger movement.

Prognosis for such condition for younger patient is quite good. They recover fast and get back to their daily activities however for the elderly, the prognosis is not as favorable even with or without surgical intervention.