The spinal cord is an important part of the central nervous system and consists of a number of vertebrae that have delicate nerves and tissues, which extend from the brain to the back. The cord links the brain to the other parts of the body and any injury or trauma to the spinal cord can have serious consequences. A spinal cord injury often results from a severe blow to the spinal column. Often athletes, divers, players, surfers, etc., are at high risk of spinal injury.
Causes: People suffer from a spinal injury due to various reasons including:
- Road accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Sports injuries
- Violent attack
- Certain diseases such as arthritis, polio, cancer, infections, inflammation of spinal disks
- Osteoporosis or certain other conditions make the spinal cord weak and susceptible to injuries.
Symptoms: Some of the symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Loss of any sensation
- Inability to move
- Reflexes and spasms
- Loss of bladder control or bowel
- Pain in the neck, head, and back
- Coughing, difficulty in breathing
- Numbness and weakness
- Problems in maintaining balance
Diagnosis: The physicians can conduct various physical examinations to find out the extent of damage and some of the tests include X-rays, CT scans, MRI, and Myelogram. These tests determine which parts of the chord are affected and the extent of the damage. These tests also let the surgeon determine the recovery time and how the treatment should proceed.
Treatment: Spinal cord injury is a condition that needs to be treated immediately. The spine doctors, after a correct diagnosis, can also prescribe medicine to reduce swelling and inflammation. In certain cases, surgery is required when a bone or tissue presses on the spinal cord, in order to stabilize it. After stabilization of the cord, the surgeons will suggest treatment, which may include medicines to control the symptoms, physical therapy, and surgical treatments. To relieve back pain and regain function, orthopedic surgeons may treat the injury both surgically and non-surgically.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, visit the spine specialists at OrthoTexas.