The Role of Spinal Injury Centres

8th September 2021

The Role of Spinal Injury Centres

Sophie Perry, Major Trauma Case Handler in the Higgs LLP Personal Injury Team, looks at how Spinal Injury Centres play a key role in rehabilitation following a Spinal Cord Injury.

A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can be life-changing – not just for the injured party, but also for the wider family as everyone involved adjusts to the demands of life after serious injury.

At Higgs LLP, we help clients rebuild their lives and get the most out of life post-SCI.  A key part of that is ensuring that clients get the most out of placements within Spinal Injury Centres.

These centres produce tailored programmes to help people with a SCI live as full a life as possible.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A SCI is damage to the tight bundle of cells and nerves that sends and receives signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body. SCI can be caused by direct injury to the spinal cord itself or from damage to the tissue and bones (vertebrae) that surround the spinal cord. This damage can result in temporary or permanent changes in sensation, movement, strength, and body functions below the site of injury.  Motor vehicle accidents and catastrophic falls are the most common causes of SCI.

A Spinal Cord Injury can cause one or more symptoms including:

  • Numbness, tingling, or a loss of or changes in sensation in the hands and feet
  • Paralysis that may happen immediately or develop over time as swelling and bleeding affects the spinal cord
  • Pain or pressure in head, neck, or back
  • Loss of movement
  • Weakness or inability to move any part of the body
  • Unnatural positions of the spine or head
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Problems walking
  • Difficulty breathing

How Spinal Injury Centres help

Spinal Injury Centres play an important and vital role following on from a SCI, providing support for patients and family members alike.

The Centres consist of a team of multi-professional specialists who work towards a patient-focused service and rehabilitation is tailored around the individual patient’s goals.

Many Centres will consist of the following healthcare professionals:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Dieticians

The Spinal Injury Centres are dedicated to the management of spinal injuries as well as maximising neurological recovery and function, minimising complications and disability.

Services/specialisms include:

  • Acute and Rehabilitation Care
  • Urological care
  • Pressure Sore Management
  • Management of skeletal spasticity including Botulinum toxin injection and insertion of intrathecal (Baclofen) pumps.
  • Hand and Upper Limb management 

Spinal Injury Centres are vital to helping patients achieve their best possible recovery and provide support not only during their stayas an inpatient but also following discharge. Follow up appointments after discharge help patients with maintaining health, independence and a good quality of life whilst adapting to life following a Spinal Cord Injury.


NHS trauma centres/hospitals are required to refer patients via the National Spinal Injury Database if possible, within four hours of admission. A visit from the nominated centre may be necessary to assess patients prior to acceptance for admission to the centre.

Patients are ideally admitted within 72 hours from referral.

About 85 per cent of our patients are discharged to their own home on completion of treatment and rehabilitation.

If you or your loved ones have been unfortunate to suffer a Spinal Cord Injury as a result of an accident, then our specialist team at Higgs LLP can assist you in bringing a compensation claim and help you to secure the best rehabilitation to assist your recovery.

Spinal Cord Injury Centres

Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Hospital

The Golden Jubilee North East Regional Spinal Injuries Centre James Cook University Hospital

The London Spinal Cord Injury Centre Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

The Yorkshire Regional Spinal Injuries Centre Pinderfields Hospital

Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre Northern General Hospital, Sheffield

North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre Southport & Formby Hospital

Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre Salisbury District Hospital

National Spinal Injuries Centre Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre Rookwood Hospital


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