Central cord syndrome, also called Schneider syndrome, occurs as a result of a trauma in the cervical region of the spine, especially in relation to hyperextension movements such as those produced when falling down the stairs, or in a motorcycle accident.
It affects the central grey matter and spinothalamic tracts that cross in the medullary centre.
The lesion can start in the centre and then extend in a centrifugal way, reaching other anatomical pathways, not only those located in the medullary centre.
What are the symptoms?
Depending on the magnitude of the trauma, it can appear from paresis (muscular weakness caused by nerve damage; partial paralysis) of the upper limbs, conserving the functionality of the lower limbs, up to a tetraparesis (decreased mobility in the four limbs) predominantly in the upper limbs.
• Loss of painful and thermal sensitivity.
• Proprioceptive and vibratory sensitivity: The two modalities of deep sensitivity as well as tactile sensitivity are preserved intact.
It will appear later if a specific part of the cervical spine is affected.
- Hyporeflexia: It refers to below normal or absent reflexes.
- Fasciculations (also known as muscle twitch): It is a small, local, involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation which can be visible under the skin.
This syndrome is typical of elderly people. The prognosis depends on many factors. For instance, people whose syndrome was occasionated by trauma, have a certain recovery of neurological function. If a person receives timely medical attention can get better outcomes.
Improvement can occur progressively. However, younger people recover faster than third age patients.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this syndrome. Nevertheless, some people recuperate near-normal function. Doctors resort to drug therapy, surgery, and rest.
Specialists consider surgery especially when they want to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. This surgical intervention has demonstrated to be effective in people with persistent compression of the spinal cord and neurological deterioration. Also, it increases the chance of recovery.