Central Cord Syndrome

(CCS; Central Cervical Cord Syndrome; Central Cord Injury; Injury, Central Cord; Paralysis, Upper Extremity; Syndrome, Central Cord; Syndrome, Central Cervical Cord; Upper Extremity Paralysis; Acute Central Cord Syndrome)


Central cord syndrome (CCS) is a type of incomplete spinal cord injury. CCS is marked by damage to the nerve fibers that bring messages from the brain to the body. This condition affects how you can use your arms and hands, and in some cases, your legs. There may be a loss of sensation and motor control.
Spinal Cord
Spinal Cord
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CCS is caused by damage to the central part of the spinal cord. This damage may occur when the neck is hyperextended. This can be associated with:
  • Syringomyelia (syrinx)—a cyst in the spinal cord
  • Loss of blood supply to the area
  • Bleeding in the spinal cord
  • Swelling
Common causes of injury include:
  • Trauma, such as car accident, sports injuries, and falls
  • Degenerative condition of spine—often found in older people
  • Pre-existing condition, such as being born with a narrow spine
CSS can also be due to:
  • Structural problems
  • Tumors within the spinal cord

Risk Factors

Males over 50 are more likely to have this condition. Other factors that increase your chance of CCS include:
  • Autoimmune disorder, such as multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica
  • Pre-existing condition, such as narrow spinal canal, spinal cord disease, and tethered cord
  • Participation in certain sports, such as wrestling and diving


Symptoms of CCS may include:
  • Inability to lift arms and hands completely, or numbness and tingling
  • Difficulty with fine motor control, such as buttoning a shirt
  • Muscle weakness in legs, difficulty walking
  • Loss of bladder control
If CCS is due to trauma, symptoms usually come quickly. Sometimes, however, symptoms may come more slowly.

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