The spinal cord comprises of a group of nerves that travel from the base of the skull down to the back. A spinal injury occurs when any of the parts of these nerves are damaged, leading to a loss of strength, sensation and decreased functioning of body parts below the site of wound. Unlike other injuries, a spinal injury does not heal on its own and requires comprehensive treatment. Depending upon severity, a spinal cord injury may be classified as: Complete Injury: It is characterized by a complete loss of sensory and motor functioning below the affected region. Incomplete Injury: This involves a partial damage to sensory and motor functioning in body parts that are below the injured area of the spinal cord.
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Fall from a height
- Direct blow or impact to the spine
- Gunshot or stabbing wounds
- Sports related injuries
- Spinal cord compression due to a tumor, infection or inflammation
- Electric shock
- Low bone density
- Landing on the head during sports
- Excessive twisting of the lumbar spine
- Diving injuries
- Pain and stiffness in the head, neck or back
- Reduced sensation
- Loss of movement
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the arms and legs
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Difficulty walking
- Weakness and muscle spasms
- Unusually positioned head
- Exaggerated reflex actions Pain while breathing, coughing or sneezing
During the initial phase of treatment, the orthopedic surgeon may focus on maintaining the patient’s ability to breathe, immobilizing the body to prevent further damage, preventing trauma and avoiding other serious complications. Following this, he may recommend any of the following treatment options:
- Medications: Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed to the patient to reduce damage to the nerve cells and ease the symptoms of the spinal injury.
- Immobilization: The patient may be advised to stabilize the spine and restore its normal alignment with the help of traction. Wearing a tight neck collar may also help if the cervical spine is injured.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove herniated discs, foreign bodies, bone fragments or fractured vertebrae that may put pressure on the spine. It can also help to prevent any spinal deformity.
The surgeons at OrthoTexas provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for spinal injury.