The spinal cord normally carries messages between the brain and the body and the limbs. These messages help to control movement of the limbs. They also inform the brain about the feelings of touch, pain and signals from bladder and bowel. In spina bifida, the nerves are damaged because the spinal cord has not formed properly. The amount of nerve damage varies greatly. The main effects are:
Hydrocephalus: excessive fluid in the brain.
- Muscle weakness or
paralysis: Paralysis (motor loss) is mainly flaccid where the spinal cord is abnormal below the
level of spina bifida, the muscles are unable to contact even by reflex action.
- Lack of touch, pain sensation (sensory loss)
- Bowel and bladder incontinence
- Leg deformities: club foot, CTEV etc