Spinal Cord Injury


Doctor looking at patient in a wheelchair

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation team at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California is devoted to giving children with spinal cord injury comprehensive and compassionate care that will restore their ability, confidence and independence. Our commitment extends to advancing care through scientific and clinical research.

Our team is uniquely qualified to care for the needs of the growing child and adolescent with a spinal cord injury. We strive to help each child and their family reach the highest possible level of independence and to maximize their potential for functional recovery.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury and Transverse Myelitis

  • Acute care, including surgical spine stabilization
  • Primary rehabilitation
  • Secondary rehabilitation
  • Upper extremity surgical reconstruction
  • Urologic surgical reconstruction

Medical Innovation

With innovation comes independence. Gripping a pen, moving an arm and breathing independently can make all the difference in the life of a child with a spinal cord injury. Surgeons at Shriners Hospital offer tendon transfers that restore functional use of upper extremities. Surgical implant of a phrenic nerve pacer has allowed severely injured children to breathe without a ventilator.

Collaborative Approach to Care

Patients and families can expect to benefit from the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team that includes:

  • Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Care Coordinators
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Dietitians
  • Hand Surgeons
  • Kinesiologists
  • Neurologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Pediatric Orthopaedists
  • Pediatric Physiatrists
  • Pediatricians
  • Physical Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Recreation Therapists
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Spine Surgeons
  • Teachers
  • Transition Specialists
  • Urologists

A Facility Designed for Children

Spinal cord injury care and rehabilitation is delivered in a hospital designed specifically to serve the medical and emotional needs of children. Patients participate in recreational activities with other children in brightly lit play areas equipped with video games, craft centers, and games that enhance the family-friendly environment of care. Outings to movies, plays, sporting events and shopping malls are organized to give children with spinal cord injuries an opportunity to engage in their communities under the supervision of trained recreation specialists. Award-winning art programs give patients an opportunity to experiment with adaptive devices and encourage creative expression.

The Medical Team

Loren Davidson, M.D.
Director, Spinal Cord Injury
Dr. Davidson, a Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist, leads a multi-disciplinary team of professionals devoted to addressing the medical, developmental, social and educational needs of each patient.

Erica Daharsh, M.S.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Case Manager

Scientific and Clinical Research

Approximately 12,000 cases of spinal cord injury are reported in the United States each year. Researchers at the Northern California Shriners Hospital hope to find a way to help spinal cord injury so children paralyzed by disease and injury can walk again. Dr. David Pleasure, Director of Research, is working to create therapies to prevent damage to spinal cord function caused by inflammation that may occur after immunizations and viral infections or as a side effect of a disease, such as multiple sclerosis.


Loren Davidson, M.D.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Attending Physician

Dr. Davidson

Loren Davidson, M.D., is Medical Director for the Spinal Cord Injury program at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of California Davis Health System.

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