What should I know about spinal cord injuries?

If you’ve recently sustained a spine injury at your place of work, you may have a long road ahead of you. Spine injuries can have very serious consequences and may even impact your ability to earn a living in the future. Knowing what to expect will help you make the most of the recovery process, which is why the following information provided by MedicineNet.com is so important.

Symptoms

Symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries typically depend on which portion of the spine is affected. If the upper neck is impacted, a person may experience problems breathing, which necessitates the use of a ventilator in serious cases. Lower spinal injuries can diminish sensation and cause weakness in the limbs. Other symptoms include a loss of sexual function, loss of muscle function, and an inability to control the bowels and bladder.

Causes

The most common cause of spine injuries is trauma. Trauma can happen in many different situations, such as a fall from a great height or because of a car accident. Other common causes include sporting injuries and acts of violence, such as an intentional blow to the spine. In other cases, spinal damage results from a medical condition (such as a tumor on the spine).

Treatments

If a spinal cord injury is suspected, immobilizing the person is of the utmost importance (as it will prevent further damage from occurring). Post-diagnosis, medical staff often administer steroids in an attempt to reduce swelling. Surgery may also be necessary. Surgical procedures can help remove any pressure on the spine while also stabilizing it. Once the injury is controlled, the patient will often be referred to a rehab specialist to increase mobility and reduce pain. 

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