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autonomic dysreflexia (hyperreflexia)

*occurs with injuries above T4 and T6 levels
*symptoms are:
*immediate pounding headache
*nasal congestion
*sudden onset of hypertension


tube known as a urinary catheter is inserted into a patient's bladder via his or her urethra.

cauda equina

the collection of dorsal and ventral nerve roots descending from the lower spinal cord and occupying the vertebral canal below the L1 region. (tail of the horse)

Crede's maneuver

the application of external pressure on the abdomen with their fists, starting at the umbilicus and pressing downward in order to empty the bladder

decubitus ulcer

Damage to the skin as a result of pressure sores. A bedsore.

heterotopic ossification

bone forms in soft tissue


The rippling motion of muscles in the digestive tract in order to mix food and turn it into liquid.

reflex arc

a simple reflex, such as a knee jerk, which involves only two nerves and one synapse. The knee extends without any influence from the brain.


lateral curvature of the vertebral column.

spinal shock

Occurs immediately after injury and simply means that the spinal cord temporarily shuts down for a period of time (weeks or months).

What should the OT do in the case of autonomic dysreflexia?

This is an emergency situation and required medical attention.
*Bring the patient to a sitting position.
*check catheter for make sure urine is flowing. If clamped, it should be released.
*if urinary bag is full, empty.
*tight clothing should be loosened.
*check for other skin irritation, such as clothing gather, or cushion roughness.
*if in hospital, notify nursing personnel asap
*if home, contact the home health nurse or the patient's doctor by phone for further directions.

ROM restrictions

No PROM past 90 degrees, manual muscle testing or strengthening exercises be provided to the shoulder muscles until advised by the physician.
*shoulder muscles affect movement of the cervical and thoracic spine and must be avoided until spine is fully stabilized.
*never extend the wrist and fingers at the same time, nor flex the wrist and fingers at the same time.
*ROM exercises for full flexion of the fingers should only be done with the wrist in extension, and for full extension of the fingers, the wrist in flexion.

deep vein thrombosis

usually in the deep veins of the legs; most likely to occur in paretic leg

pulmonary emboli

a mobilized DVT that has traveled to the lungs.


one sided paralysis


partial motor loss on one side of the body


absence of muscle tone


any degree of paralysis of the four limbs and trunk musculature


paralysis of the lower extremities with some involvement of the trunk depending on the level of the lesion

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