The spinal cord is a structure that extends from the nape of the brain to the edge of the spine. It is composed of white matter and gray matter, which carry nerve impulses between the brain and other parts of the body. It is also the center of most involuntary reflexes. The vertebrae or rings of bone that form the spine surround the spinal cord and protect it from harm.
Trauma or injury to the spinal cord can be devastating to the body. Spinal cord injuries (injuries to the spinal cord or nerves at the ends of the spinal cord (cauda equina)) often cause permanent changes in sensation, strength, and other physical functions beneath the site of injury. Spinal cord, most people suffer traumatic spinal cord injury and do not heal completely.
Is it possible to heal a spinal cord injury?
It is almost impossible to heal a complete traumatic spinal cord injury. This is because damaged cells face anatomical, chemical, physiological, and immune system changes that interfere with cell regeneration. There is no specific treatment available to cure traumatic spinal cord injury, but researchers have tried to develop a treatment. On the other hand, rehabilitation and physiotherapy have helped many people with traumatic spinal cord injuries lead a happy and independent life.
What is the type of spinal cord injury?
The ability to control the limbs after a SCI depends on two factors: the location of the SCI and the severity of the SCI.
The normal lower part of the spinal cord is called the neurological level of injury.
There are two main types of spinal cord injury.
Complete spinal cord injury is characterized by a complete lack of sensory and motor function below the injury level.
If the trauma does not completely damage the spinal cord and a faint sensation is felt beneath the area of injury, the injury is said to be incomplete. With regular exercise and treatment, you can recover.
In addition, when spinal cord injury causes paralysis, it is sometimes referred to as:
Also known as quadriplegia. This condition causes damage to the arms, hands, legs, pelvic internal organs, and trunk.
The term refers to complete paralysis of the pelvic internal organs, legs, and trunk.
What are the symptoms of spinal cord injury?
Injury to the spinal cord can cause the following symptoms:
● It is difficult to walk.
● Loss of sensation.
● Loss of control of the bladder and defecation.
● Loss of arm and leg movement.
● Stinging or pain in the spinal cord.
● Unnatural arrangement of the head.
● Hyperactive involuntary movements or convulsions.
● Signs of shock.
What are the steps required if a spinal cord injury is suspected?
Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you are injured. In the meantime, there are some steps that need to be taken here:
● Never move the injured person. Moving can cause permanent damage.
● Please contact your nearest medical center.
● Restricts neck and back movement. Place heavy linen on both sides of the neck until medical assistance arrives.
● Provide first aid. Check for bleeding and take off restricted clothing.
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When should I see a doctor if I have a spinal cord injury?
It is advisable to see a doctor as soon as the first abnormal signs or symptoms begin to appear. If left untreated at an early stage, the injury may worsen over time, leading to complete or partial paralysis. In the case of a traumatic event that is suspected of having a spinal cord injury, see a doctor immediately and do not try to move the patient until you see a doctor.
What Causes Spinal Cord Injury?
Injuries to the spinal cord can result from damage to the spine, intervertebral discs, ligaments, or the spinal cord itself. Sudden blows or physical assault can fracture, dislocate, or crush the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord, causing trauma.
In addition, the spinal cord can be damaged by prolonged untreated swelling, fluid accumulation, and bleeding in and around the spinal cord. The spinal cord can also be damaged by diseases such as arthritis, disc infections, cancer, and inflammation.
The following are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injury.
Diseases such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammation can cause long-term damage to the spinal cord.
● Accidents account for a significant number of cases of spinal cord injury.
● Falls are the most common cause of spinal cord injury in adults over the age of 65.
● Alcohol abuse may also be involved in spinal cord injury
● Gunshot wounds and violence can also lead to injuries
What are the risk factors associated with SCI?
Spinal cord injury is not necessarily limited to accidental trauma or external factors. As it can happen to anyone, there are several factors that can increase the risk of spinal cord damage.
● Gender plays an important role in determining the risk of spinal cord injury. Studies have shown that men are more vulnerable to spinal cord-related injuries than women.
● Falling is the number one cause of spinal cord injury in the elderly. Belonging to the age group of 60 and over increases the risk of spinal cord damage.
● Existing bone and joint disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis increase the risk of spinal cord injury in individuals.
Can Spinal Cord Injury Cause Complications?
Spinal cord injury can cause multiple complications and permanent movement disorders. It changes the functioning of your body. Psychological stress and depression are also common during the recovery process. Listed below are seven complications that can result from spinal cord injury.
- Defecation control
Spinal cord injury affects organs in the pelvis, which can lead to loss of control of the intestines and bladder.
- Loss of skin sensation
Some or all of the skin’s sensations can be lost below the neurological level of injury. Therefore, the skin cannot send a message to the brain if it is damaged by certain causes such as prolonged pressure, cold or heat.
This makes you more susceptible to pressure ulcers, but you can prevent these pressure ulcers by repositioning them frequently with the help of your needs. Learn proper skin care during rehabilitation and help avoid these problems.
- Respiratory function limitation
Injuries to the spinal cord can cause restricted respiratory function. When the chest and abs are affected, breathing is affected. Coughing can also be difficult.
Being bedridden for long periods of time due to restricted movement can lead to depression and anxiety. It is essential to maintain a positive attitude during the recovery process.
- Muscle tone
During the recovery period, the muscles of the body can experience uncontrolled tightening and excessive softness. Such muscle disorders are common during the recovery period.
- Circulation control
Spinal cord injury can affect the blood circulation system. Problems such as low blood pressure, swelling of the valves, and the formation of blood clots can occur.
- Pain and swelling
Experience of stinging pain and swelling in the limbs is common in people suffering from spinal cord injury. Some people also experience muscle and joint pain. Nerve pain is also common.
Diagnosis of spinal cord injury
Trauma to the spine requires immediate medical attention and evaluation for possible spinal cord injury. Victims of the accident must be taken to a doctor for proper diagnosis. Spinal cord injury is not always obvious because there are no visible signs. Failure to provide medical assistance can result in more serious injuries. If bleeding or inflammation continues uncontrolled, numbness or paralysis can occur gradually or quickly.
If you have had a neck, back, or head injury, the following tests may be done:
● CT scan.
● MRI scan.
● Spontaneous reflex test.
● Test muscle strength and agility.
What is the cure for spinal cord injury?
Unfortunately, there is no clear cure for spinal cord injuries. A combination of rehabilitation therapy, exercise, and medicine can help treat these types of injuries.
Prevention of spinal cord injury
The following precautions will help prevent spinal cord damage.
Driving responsibly can prevent accidents and even spinal cord injuries. Following traffic regulations, wearing seat belts and driving safely are some major precautions.
Great care should be taken when walking, running and exercising. This can reduce the incidence of falls and spinal cord injuries. It is highly recommended to wear protective equipment when playing sports.
Spinal cord injury affects you in many ways. Undoubtedly, it can immobilize you in more than one way, but you will be amazed at everything a person can do. With positive thinking and therapy / medicine, you can lift yourself out of despair and inspire others around you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Can a person with SCI walk again?
It depends on the degree of damage to the spine. If it is not completely damaged, you can walk. A combination of exercise, medication and treatment may help you walk without help. But the most important thing is to be positive, communicate with your loved ones, and participate in rehab programs.
- Is there a clear cure for SCI?
Unfortunately, it’s different. There is no reliable and reliable way to treat spinal cord injury. Medications, movement restrictions, and physiotherapy have helped many. Also, spinal cord injury is very complex and has different effects on an individual basis.
- How Common Is Spinal Cord Injury in Children?
Spinal cord injury is relatively rare in children. Most spinal cord injuries in children occur in the neck. Most children suffer from transient symptoms such as dysesthesia and weakness in the case of such injuries. In addition, in almost 25% of children with SCI, the first signs of a neurological defect are delayed by 30 minutes to 4 hours, making it very difficult to diagnose immediately.