Center for Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries and diseases affect a person’s ability to function independently in all areas of daily living.
At the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, our team of spinal cord injury and disease experts helps patients regain their independence.
Understanding the Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Each year, about 12,000 people sustain spinal cord injuries that change their lives forever, affecting the ability to do everyday things that many people take for granted.
Injuries to the spinal cord occur when the spinal column fractures, or when the ligaments holding the spinal column together fall out of alignment and bruise or crush the spinal cord.
As a result, the communication between the brain and the parts of the body below the site of injury are disrupted.
This disruption causes a loss to the ability to perform basic functions, such as walking, eating, and talking.
Coordinated, Cutting-Edge Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is one of only 14 programs in the United States designated as a spinal cord injury model system.
The coordinated treatment team works exclusively with spinal cord injury patients, and their families, at our dedicated, 20-bed spinal cord injury unit at UPMC Mercy.
Because we are a nationally designated center of excellence in spinal cord care, we are a test site for the latest treatments.
As a result, we're often involved in research studies relating to:
- Cutting-edge drugs that minimize the impact of trauma to the spine
- Interventions meant to improve and repair connections in a damaged spinal cord
Advanced Technology, Comprehensive Services
As one of the country's leading rehabilitation programs, spinal cord injury patients at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute have access to state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive services to help assist with recovery.
Technologies such as those in the Robotics and Gaming Center, help you relearn walking and other tasks so you can live a more independent life after your rehabilitation stay.
Rehabilitation services for spinal cord injuries may include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Case management
- Nutrition services
- Vocational and community re-entry services
Training Future Spinal Cord Injury Experts
The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute also is home to the region’s only spinal cord injury fellowship program, where our fellowship-trained physicians are preparing the next generation of spinal cord injury experts from around the country.