Your spine is made of many bones called vertebrae. Your spinal cord runs downward through a canal in the center of these bones. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body for movement and sensation. Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is due to a traumatic injury that bruises, partially tears, or completely tears the spinal cord. SCI is a common cause of permanent disability and death in children and adults.