Spinal shock


  • Do not confuse with Neurogenic Shock
  • Transient stunning of the cord with global loss of function (unlike neurogenic shock) with temporary loss of spinal cord function below complete or incomplete spinal cord injury
    • Flaccid paralysis, anesthesia, absent bowel/bladder control and reflex activity, priapism
    • Can make an incomplete lesion appear as complete
      • Cord lesions cannot be deemed complete until spinal shock has resolved
  • Bulbocavernosus reflex is among the first to return as spinal shock resolves
    • Mediated by S2-S4
  • Usually lasts day to weeks
    • Resolves when soft tissue swelling improves
  • Can think of it as a "concussion" of the spinal cord

Differential Diagnosis


See Also