Symptoms of an acute SCI can vary widely. The location of the injury on the spinal cord determines what part of the body is affected and how severe the symptoms are. Right after a spinal cord injury, your spine may be in shock. This causes loss or decrease in feeling, muscle movement, and reflexes. But, as swelling eases, other symptoms may appear depending on the location of the injury. Generally, the higher up the level of the injury is to the spinal cord, the more severe the symptoms. For example, an injury to the neck, the first and second vertebrae in the spinal column (C1, C2), or the mid-cervical vertebrae (C3, C4, and C5) affects the respiratory muscles and the ability to breathe. A lower injury, in the lumbar vertebrae, may affect nerve and muscle control to the bladder, bowel, and legs, and sexual function. Quadriplegia is loss of function in the arms and legs. Paraplegia is loss of function in the legs and lower body. The extent of the damage to the spinal cord determines whether the injury is complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no movement or feeling below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury means that there is still some degree of feeling or movement below the level of the injury. AMuscsk_20140310_v1_005 These are the most common symptoms of acute spinal cord injuries: Muscle weakness Loss of voluntary muscle movement in the chest, arms, or legs Breathing problems Loss of feeling in the chest, arms, or legs Loss of bowel and bladder function The symptoms of SCI may look like other medical conditions or problems.