A spinal cord injury is defined as the damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal often causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury. Spinal cord injuries are described at various levels of "incomplete", which can vary from having no effect on the patient to a "complete" injury which means a total loss of function. A severe injury may also cause problems in parts of the spine below the injured area. In a "complete" spinal injury, all functions below the injured area are lost. An "incomplete" spinal cord injury involves preservation of motor or sensory function below the level of injury in the spinal cord. A traumatic spinal cord injury may stem from a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae. It also may result from a gunshot or knife wound that penetrates and cuts your spinal cord. Additional damage usually occurs over days or weeks because of bleeding, swelling, inflammation and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord. A nontraumatic spinal cord injury may be caused by arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections, or disk degeneration of the spine. Treatment of spinal cord injuries starts with restraining the spine and controlling inflammation to prevent further damage. The actual treatment can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the injury. In many cases, spinal cord injuries require substantial physical therapy and rehabilitation, especially if the patient's injury interferes with activities of daily life.