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Spinal Injuries

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is an essential part of the human body. For people who have suffered spinal injuries, it is very likely that every aspect of their lives will be affected.

Damages in the spinal cord or in the nerves, attached to it at the end of the canal, commonly cause permanent injuries to body functions. In most cases, strength, sensation and coordination are affected by spinal injuries.

Nevertheless, advances in medical sciences research claim that in the future the total repair of spinal injuries will be possible. For the time being, spinal injuries treatments and rehabilitation allow patients to have independent and productive lives in spite of the permanent damage.

Two basic levels of classification are used to describe the severity of spinal injuries:

  • Complete – where the sensory system and motor function are lost.
  • Incomplete – refers to the degrees of incompleteness of the sensory and motor functions.

Additionally, two more designations are used for paralysis:

  • Quadriplegia or tetraplegia – when arms, trunk, legs, pelvic organs are affected by spinal injuries.
  • Paraplegia – where trunk, legs and pelvic organs are affected.

Common Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Loss of sensation (heat, cold, touch)
  • Loss of movement
  • Imprecise reflexes
  • Changes in sexual sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Unbalance

Diagnosis and Spinal Injuries Treatment

By careful inspection, doctors in emergency rooms can rule out spinal cord injuries while testing sensory and motor functions, and inquiring about the accident. In case of weakness and neck pain, further diagnosis is needed.

Some diagnosis tests include:

  • CT scan (Computerized tomography)
  • X-rays
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)

Damage to the spinal cord is irreversible. Prostheses and medication promoting nerve cell regeneration that improve functionality are on the rise nowadays and the future of spinal injuries treatments promising. In the meantime, the major achievement of spinal injuries treatments is to prevent further injuries and enable patients to live a relatively active life.

When spinal injuries are detected, the intensive care unit will take care of the treatment. The specialized group consists of orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, spinal cord specialists and therapists. In the rehabilitation, mostly psychologists, nurses and social workers with expertise in the subject are involved. Life-long, ongoing care, rehab and medications are mandatory.

Some spinal injuries treatments are:

  • Medications
  • Immobilization
  • Surgery
  • Experimental treatments