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Spinal Cord Injury


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)
  • Numbness
  • Sensory changes
  • Spasticity (increased muscle tone)
  • Pain
  • 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:

  • Steroids
  • Spinal brace
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy

Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California can provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options to help your spine health as quickly and pain-free as possible.

For a physician referral, please call 888.800.7688. And if you would like more information about the Spine Program, please contact our Spine Program Coordinator at 916.736.8050.