A spinal cord injury is an injury that damages the nerves anywhere along the spine. It is a medical emergency regardless of the injury’s location and can be fatal.
The signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on the location of the injury and whether it is a complete or incomplete injury. The severity of nerve damage can vary, and it may be temporary or permanent. In a complete spinal cord injury, nerve impulses cannot reach below the area of the injury, resulting in loss of movement, or paralysis. In a partial or incomplete injury, some nerve signals reach below the injury, allowing for some movement and sensation.
Signs and symptoms of a spinal injury may include:
- Loss of feeling below the injury
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Difficulty controlling your arms or legs
- Unusual twisting of the back
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty balancing
Call 911 if you suspect a spinal cord injury in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV. It is a medical emergency and requires treatment as quickly as possible to prevent further damage or death. The doctors at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican are here to provide you with the quality and comprehensive care you need for the best chance at recovery. Find a neurologist associated with St. Rose or visit one of our emergency rooms near you.
Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury
Causes of spinal cord injury include trauma such as falling from a ladder or roof, diving into shallow water, or a motor vehicle accident. Other causes of spinal cord injuries include:
Treatment & Prevention of a Spinal Cord Injury in Las Vegas, NV
In the case of a spinal cord injury, it is essential that the injured person be kept still (immobile) and that breathing continues while waiting for emergency assistance.
Once in the emergency room, doctors may perform any or all of the following treatments:
- Surgery to remove bits of broken bone or foreign objects, realign the spine, repair the injury, or set up traction equipment to limit movement, which may include a halo to keep the head in one position
- Immobilization using traction or braces keeps the spine aligned so it can heal
- Medications such as corticosteroids to reduce swelling around the injury and relieve pressure on the surrounding tissues and nerves
Not all spinal injuries can be prevented. However, you can reduce your risk by taking these steps to improve your safety:
- Wear a seatbelt while traveling in a motor vehicle
- Use safety equipment when on a roof or other high-level location
- Check water depth before diving and do not dive into shallow water
At Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals, we are proud to provide comprehensive, quality care for neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injuries, in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.