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Neuronal Control of Breathing

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Breathing is controlled by nerves that originate from the cervical and thoracic levels of the spinal cord. Due to the numerous muscles and nerves involved, the respiratory function that is affected depends on the level and severity of the injury. Table 1 outlines the associated muscles involved in inspiration and expiration that are affected by injuries at various levels; subsequent patient outcomes for these injuries are also detailed. Information for this table was adapted from Warren et al. (2014) and Mansel and Norman (1990).

Table 1 Effect of Level of Injury on Respiratory Function