More than a decade ago, spinal-cord injury meant confinement to a wheelchair and a lifetime of medical comorbidity. The physician's armamentarium of treatments was very limited, and provision of care for individuals with spinal-cord injury was usually met with frustration. Advances in the neurosciences have drawn attention to research into spinal-cord injury. Nowadays, advanced interventions provide high hope for regeneration and functional restoration. As scientific advances become more frequent, scepticism is giving way to the ideas that spinal-cord injury will eventually be repairable and that strategies to restore function are within our grasp. We address the present understanding of spinal-cord injury, its cause, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment, and look at promising research avenues. We also discuss new treatment options, including functional electric stimulation and part-weight-supported walking.
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