Spinal cord injuries: types, symptoms, treatment, and prevention

Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord or the nerve endings of the spinal canal are damaged. The result of this type of injury is usually a permanent loss of strength, sensation, and other lower body functions. Besides changing his mentality, emotions, and social life, a spinal cord injury can affect all aspects of his life. With new therapies and rehabilitation, many people can live independent and successful lives. In this article, you will learn about spinal cord injuries, their treatment, and first aid for spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injury: what is it?

Nerve signals travel from the brain to other parts of the body through the spinal cord. Multilayered tissues called meninges and spine protect the spinal cord. A sudden, severe blow to the spine is the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. Nerves and spinal cord are damaged by broken and damaged spine bones. It is possible to amputate the spinal cord completely in rare cases.

As a result of spinal cord injuries, the organs below the injury site lose sensation and function. One of the most common sites of injury is the lumbar spine or thorax. It is one of the most common causes of death and permanent disability in children and adults.

Spinal cord injuries: types:

The lower part of the injured area is not functional after a complete spinal cord injury. Movement and sensation are included. Neither side is affected equally by it. Spinal cord injuries can occur anywhere along its length.

Damage to the lower parts of the injured site is incomplete. One limb may be able to move more than another, sense specific parts of the body, or have broader functions on one side over the other. Any part of the spinal cord can be affected by incomplete spinal cord injuries.

Injuries to the spinal cord cause what symptoms?

The severity and location of the spinal cord injury determine the symptoms of this complication. It is possible to lose sensation and movement beneath the injury site as a result of spinal shock. Spinal cord injuries can last for days or weeks. Depending on the location of the injury, other symptoms may appear in addition to shock.

The more severe the symptoms, the higher the spinal cord injury site. The respiratory muscles and ability to breathe are affected by damage to cervical vertebrae 2 and 3 (second and third vertebrae of the spine). Lower vertebrae, such as the lumbar vertebrae, can damage nerves and muscles that control the bladder, intestines, and legs.

Spinal cord injuries: types, symptoms, treatment, and prevention

During a series of tests, the doctor and the care team determine the severity and location of the spinal cord injury. Symptoms of spinal cord injury include:

The inability to move;
Feelings such as heat, cold, or touch are lost;
Lack of control over bladder or bowel movements;
Involuntary responses that are severe;
Sexual function and fertility changes;
Nerve damage in the spinal cord causes pain or burning;
Breathing difficulties, coughing, and lung secretions.

The following are emergency signs of spinal cord injury after an accident:

Neck, head, and back pain;
Having weakness, inconsistency, or paralysis in any part of the body;
Numbness, tingling, and loss of sensation in the hands, feet, and fingers;
Control of bladder and bowels is lost;
A change in balance and gait;
After an injury, it is difficult to breathe;
Neck or waist twisted.

Spinal cord injuries can be caused by injuries to the spine, lumbar discs, tendons or even the spinal cord itself. When the spinal cord is struck suddenly, it can rupture, dislocate, crush, or compress, resulting in a spinal cord injury. It is also possible for bullets and knives to penetrate the spine and rupture the spinal cord.

In the days and weeks following the accident, swelling, bleeding, and fluid may accumulate around the spinal cord, causing more damage. The following factors can cause non-traumatic spinal cord injuries:


Analyzing the spinal discs:

Each year, half of all spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Falling is the most common cause of spinal cord injury after 65.

About 12% of spinal cord injuries are caused by severe collisions, such as bullets or stabs.

10% of spinal cord injuries are caused by sports activities, such as active sports and diving in shallow water.

Spinal cord injury diagnosis:

In an emergency, your doctor will ensure that a spinal cord injury does not affect your breathing or heart rate. Here are some neural functions to check:

A person’s ability to move their limbs;
Touch is an example of a sensory function.
Spinal cord injuries can be diagnosed using imaging tests, such as:

A CT scan is used to check for broken bones, blood clots, or damaged blood vessels.
An MRI is used to examine the spinal cord or soft tissues.
Broken or dislocated bones can be observed with an X-ray.
In addition to checking electrical activity in muscles and nerve cells, the electromyogram or EMG test is also used. A peripheral nerve test is not necessary, but it is performed if spinal cord injury is associated with peripheral nerve damage.

In the event of a spinal cord injury, what is the immediate treatment?
There may be a need for spinal surgery in an emergency. Bone fractures, blood clots, and damaged tissues can also lead to spinal cord injuries.

Studies suggest that corticosteroids may be helpful in some cases.

Enhance blood flow;
Ensure nerve function;
Reducing inflammation.

Spinal cord injury rehabilitation should aim to achieve the following long-term goals:
Enhancing the patient’s quality of life and independence;
Preventing chronic or long-term complications;
In cases of incomplete nerve injury, some nerve function can be regained.
Long-term complications of spinal cord injury include:
Inability to regulate blood pressure or body temperature;
A higher risk of heart disease or lung disease;
Lack of control over bladder and bowel movements;
Paralysis of the arm or leg;
A chronic pain condition;
Spasms of the muscles;
Dysfunctional sexual behavior.
Spinal surgery rehabilitation.
Physical therapy is usually required for people with spinal cord injuries. It is possible to receive rehabilitation treatment without being hospitalized.
Crutches and wheelchairs can be used as assistive devices.
Restoring strength and movement to nerve-functioning areas;
Get familiar with the skills needed for daily activities, such as getting dressed and taking a bath.
Spinal cord injuries can be treated with artificial nerves. Just as artificial limbs can replace lost organs, artificial nerves can replace lost nerves. This method involves connecting healthy nerves with an electrical device. By controlling the artificial nerves, these nerves allow immobile parts of the body to regain movement.
Spinal cord injury prevention:
Drive carefully. Spinal cord injuries are commonly caused by traffic accidents. Wear your seatbelt at all times. Ensure your child has the right seat and belt for his or her age and weight. Under the age of 12, children should sit in the back seat to avoid airbag damage.
Before diving in, make sure the water is deep. You should never dive into a pool that is less than 3.7 meters deep.
With short, hand-held stools, you can reach objects at heights. Fall prevention can be achieved by installing handrails on stairs and non-slip floors in bathrooms. To prevent children from falling, lock the stairs and use window guards.
If you suspect someone has a spinal cord injury, do not move them. Paralysis and other serious complications can result from this. Spinal cord damage may cause the following symptoms:
Consciousness levels are constantly changing, and head trauma is evident.
There is severe pain in the neck or back of the individual.
It places extra strain on the neck or head as a result of the injury.
Incapable of controlling limbs, bladders, or intestines due to weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
There is a twist in the neck or body.
Spinal cord injury victims should:
The emergency room should be contacted
Ensure that they remain still. Place heavy towels or tubular sheets on either side of the head and neck to prevent them from moving.
Keep your head and neck still. As much as possible, avoid shaking the casualty’s head or neck while giving first aid. Start resuscitation as soon as there are no signs of blood flow (breathing, coughing, or shaking), but do not pull the head back to open the airway. Bring the jaw forward gently by grasping it. In the event that the person does not have a heartbeat, perform a heart resuscitation.
During a back or neck spinal cord injury, the spinal cord or surrounding tissues and bones may be damaged. This complication can have long-term effects depending on its severity. Take precautions and follow safety tips to prevent spinal cord injury and other types of spinal cord injury. Ensure the casualty is healthy and follow first aid procedures.

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