Terms that will help you understand some adaptations:

AE – Refers to an upper extremity amputee whose amputation occurs above the elbow joint.

AK – Refers to a lower extremity amputee whose amputation occurs above the knee joint.

BE – Refers to an upper extremity amputee whose amputation occurs below the elbow joint.

BK – Refers to a lower extremity amputee whose amputation occurs below the knee joint.

Cauda Equina – A bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the end of the spinal cord. The cauda equina comprises the roots of all spinal nerves below the first lumbar (L1) vertebra in the lower back. Compression or inflammation of the nerve roots can cause symptoms of pain, altered reflexes, decreased strength, and decreased sensation.

Closed Head Injury – The skull is intact and there is no penetration of the skull.  Direct or indirect force to the head can cause this type of injury.  This may be caused by rotational and/or deceleration in the case of both direct and indirect force.

Complete Spinal Cord Injury – A complete spinal cord lesion is the term used to describe damage to the spinal cord that is absolute. It causes complete and permanent loss of ability to send sensory and motor nerve impulses and, therefore, complete and usually permanent loss of function below the level of the injury.

CP – Cerebral Palsy; considered a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development. Cerebral palsy primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination.

Diffuse Axonal Injury – Diffuse cellular injury to the brain from rapid rotational movement.  This is often seen in motor vehicle accidents or shaking injuries.  The axons are the projections of the brains nerve cells that attach to other nerve cells.  They are damaged or torn by the rapid deceleration.  The injury is from the shearing force disrupting the axons which compose the white matter of the brain.

Incomplete Spinal Injury – An incomplete injury is a definition that is used to describe the nature of someone’s condition at the time that an evaluation is being done. And by definition, an incomplete injury means that an individual, after an examination or by an examination, is found to have some preservation of sensation or motor function at the lowest segment of the spinal cord.

Invisible Injuries – The term often used inclusive of TBI and PTSD.

Limb Salvage – A limb which has suffered massive trauma but is deemed functional enough to not amputate. Trauma can be a combination of damage to the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. A limb salvaged at a young age can later also be characterized by growth deformities as the body’s growth responds to the abnormal remaining structure.

Open Head Injury – Penetration of the skull with direct injury to the head.

Orthotic – A support, brace, or splint used to support, align, prevent, or correct the function of movable parts of the body

TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury; categorized as mild, moderate, or severe and can affect memory, balance, concentration, and much more. Since our brain defines who we are, the consequences of a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality. A brain injury is different from a broken limb or punctured lung. An injury in these areas limits the use of a specific part of the body, but personality and mental abilities remain unchanged. Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function.

Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is a functional recovery based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are alike and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury.

Prosthesis – A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing part of the body.

PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. During a traumatic event, the individual believes that his or her life or others’ lives are in danger. He or she may feel afraid or unable to control their surroundings. Most people have some stress-related reactions after a traumatic event; such reactions that persist may be classified as PTSD.