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Spinal Injuries

Fatal spinal injuries may not cower you down as spineless but surely they will disconcert your existence. Statistics reveal that about 450,000 people in the United States suffer from spinal cord injury and every year about 11,000 new spinal injuries are added to the list.

The Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is a slender and tubular structure, which is an extension of the central nervous system from the brain. It is protected by the bony vertebral column. The spinal cord transmits neural inputs from the brain to the periphery and vice versa.

What Is A Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury known, as Myelopathy is a fracas in the spinal cord which can result in trounce of sensation and mobility.

The Two Most Familiar Types Of Spinal Cord Injury Are:

Injury from Trauma - Injuries incurred due to accidents, gunshots, falls and so on.

Injury from Disease - Injuries occurring from diseases like spina bifida, tumors, polio or Friedreich's ataxia

Effects Of Spinal Cord Injury

The specific effects of spinal injuries can vary as per the type and level of the injury, which can be categorized in two types:

Complete Spinal Injuries

In a complete spinal cord injury there can be no voluntary movement or physical sensation. These spinal injuries are bilateral meaning that both sides of the body get affected similarly. There can be no function below the level of the injury.

Incomplete Spinal Injuries

In an incomplete spinal injury there can be some sensation below the level of injury. There can be some voluntary movements and one side of the body may function more than the other

Some Other Effects Of Spinal Injuries Are

  1. The injuries that are very crushing on the spinal cord (C-1, C-2) may result in cessation of many involuntary functions like phrenic nerve pacing and breathing.
  2. Inability of regulation of heart rate and blood pressure
  3. Reduction of body temperature and inability to sweat below the level of injury
  4. Chronic pain
  5. Dysfunction of bowel and bladder can happen, as their functions is associated with the sacral region of the spine.
  6. Sexual function can also be disrupted because the function is associated with the sacral region of the spine

Locating The Spinal Injuries

To predict what parts of the body might get affected by paralysis and loss of function it is necessary to know the precise level of injury on the spinal cord.

Some Typical Spinal Cord Injury Effects By Location

Cervical Injuries: A cervical or neck injury by and large results in full or partial tetraplegia.

Thoracic Injuries: If a person gets injuries at the thoracic level and below it generally results in paraplegia. The head, breathing, arms and hands usually remain unaffected.

Lumbar And Sacral Injuries: If the injury occurs in the lumber or sacral region of the spinal cord then the afflicted person’s control over legs, hip and anus decreases.

Central Cord Syndrome: Central cord syndrome is an incomplete spinal cord injury. This injury is often referred to as inverse paraplegia because while the hands and arms are paralyzed the lower parts and legs work properly. This condition is often coupled with, hemorrhage, ischemia or necrosis concerning the central portions of the spinal cord.

Treatments Of Spinal Injuries

High dose of methylprednisolone is used to treat traumatic spinal injuries within 8 hours of the occurrence of the injury.

Depending upon the location of the injury physical therapy and orthopedic instruments like wheelchairs or standing frames are sometimes required.


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