From simply causing sensory or strength loss to permanently paralyzing the person, spinal cord injuries can vary greatly in severity.
What is a spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injuries include any sort of damage done to the spinal cord. This may mean direct injury to the cord itself or indirect injury from damage to surrounding bones, tissues or blood vessels.
Symptoms of spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries can result from nearly anything. From major events like a car or industrial accident, to simple sports injuries or minor falls, the spine is easily injured. Symptoms include:
- Breathing difficulties (from paralysis of the breathing muscles, if the injury is high up in the neck)
- Loss of normal bowel and bladder control (may include constipation, incontinence, bladder spasms)
- Sensory changes
- Spasticity (increased muscle tone)
- Weakness, paralysis
Diagnosing spinal cord injuries
To diagnose your spinal cord injury, Dignity Health-affiliated neurologists may use a CT scan, spinal X-ray, electromyography imaging or other available tests. Once diagnosed, your doctor will devise the best plan of treatment for you condition.
Treating spinal cord injuries
Treatment could include:
- Spinal brace
- Physical therapy