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Spinal cord injury

Research and Spinal Cord injury

Episode 1, 'Beines de Mielina', the Institut Guttmann podcast.


After a spinal cord injury: sequelae

Spinal cord injuries can be classified as complete or partial depending on the degree of injury. The consequences of a spinal cord injury will vary in severity depending on the level at which it occurs.

An injury to the cervical area of the spine can cause TETRAPLEGIA, which is the loss or decrease in sensation and/or voluntary mobility of the upper and lower extremities and of the entire trunk.

An injury to the thoracic and lumbar areas of the spine can cause PARAPLEGIA, which is manifested by a lack of sensation and/or total or partial paralysis of the lower extremities, and of part of the sublesional trunk.

An injury to the medullary cone and cauda equina causes impaired sensation and reduced voluntary mobility, although the ability to walk is usually preserved. The most notable sequelae are the loss of control over sphincters and impaired sexual function.

A spinal cord injury can lead to other consequences which appear depending on the degree and level of injury, such as: 

  • Lack of sphincter control
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spasticity
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin problems, such as pressure ulcers
  • Impaired respiratory function
  • Osteoporosis
  • Disorders of body temperature regulation

Rehabilitation of spinal cord injury at the Institut Guttmann

At the Institut Guttmann we carry out a highly specialised and personalised neurorehabilitation process aimed at restoring, minimising and/or compensating functional alterations caused by a spinal cord injury. We provide patients with comprehensive, continuous, personalised care based on the intervention of an expert multidisciplinary team.

The lives of people affected by spinal cord injury can be considerably improved by scientific rigor and human warmth, the use of the most modern technologies, and applying specific clinical procedures that can provide significant qualitative improvements. Our main goals during the rehabilitation process are achieving the highest possible level of autonomy, recovery of self-esteem, and satisfactory active and mainstream social inclusion.

Outcomes of the rehabilitation process

Level of satisfaction


Patient testimonials

In later phases of the spinal cord injury

People with a spinal cord injury who want to follow intensive and personalised training and rehabilitation programmes to optimise their functional capacity or address specific problems resulting from their neurological impairment once their rehabilitation process at the Institut Guttmann or any other centre has ended can do so at Guttmann Barcelona.

At Guttmann Barcelona we offer a personalised training and functionality improvement programme for people with a spinal cord injury.

Guttmann Barcelona

The Guttmann Barcelona, Brain Health and Neurorehabilitation Institute offers personalised training and function improvement programmes, as well as specialised intensive programmes. 

Get to know us

Active Life programme

A programme for empowerment, community training and starting independent living.

The Active Life programme is an innovative programme that goes one step beyond the traditional vision of hospital rehabilitation. The aim is to ensure that people regain the maximise amount of functional autonomy, as well as their ability to make decisions and manage their own lives according to their own lifestyle in an active and participatory way.

The origin of this initiative stems from the need to transfer learning and skills acquired during the rehabilitation process to the community environment. This facilitates adaptation and helps normalise the person’s new situation within the community.

This programme is adapted to the specific needs of each person and can be carried out whenever they need to acquire skills to learn to live independently.

More information

Entrenamiento comunitario

A space that is adapted and designed for you
GBL apartments

Guttmann Barcelona Life is a social facility consisting of a group of fully adapted and automated apartments that offer a wide range of complementary services tailored to each user. 

The apartments share a building with the Guttmann Barcelona Brain Health and Neurorehabilitation Institute, so it is possible to combine a stay with a specialised neurorehabilitation treatment.

Find out more

Apartamentos GBL
Apartamentos GBL
Apartamentos GBL
Apartamentos GBL
Apartamentos GBL

References on spinal cord injury

ISCoS Textbook on Comprehensive management of Spinal Cord Injuries.  Wolters Kluwer.  Editor. Harvinder Singh Chhabra.  2015

Middleton JW et al. Life expectancy after spinal cord injury: a 50-year study. Spinal Cord, 2012, 50:803-811.

World Health Organization. International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury (IPSCI). In: Jerome Bickenbach, Cathy Bodine, Douglas Brown, et al. (eds.) Geneva, 2013. P.1-231.