A spinal cord injury means damage to any part of the nerves present at the end or any other aspect of the spinal cord. These damages are often permanent, leading to change in sensation, strength, and other lower body functions, significantly below the injury site. It is a very severe type of physical trauma that usually lasts and substantially affects every aspect of our lives. According to a study, around 20 to 30 percent of people having spinal injuries undergo depression.
To increase your chance of getting better from such an injury, you must consider two important factors, i.e., early immobilisation and early treatment. Further, the doctors help make the situation better by providing aggressive rehabilitation and assistive devices.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury
Some symptoms you may go through after having a spinal cord injury are:
- Walking problem
- Inability to move your legs or arms
- Loss of control of the bowels or bladder
- Signs of shock
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Stiffness, pain, or pressure in the back
- Abnormal positioning of the head
What are the instances when spinal injury occurs?
According to research, it is estimated that around 17000 spine injuries occur every year in the United States. Spinal injury mainly occurs because of a violent event or unpredictable accidents. Some cases are mentioned below:
- Falling from a height,
- Diving into the shallow pools or water bodies
- Violent events like being stabbed or gunshot
- Electric shocks
- Spinal or head injury in a match or any sports event
- Physical trauma due to car accidents, especially in the neck, head, face, chest, or back
- Severe twisting of the middle portion of your torso
How can spinal injuries be prevented?
As in most cases, spinal injuries are unpredictable events like an accident, so there is not much you can do to prevent it. However, you can reduce the risk of significant damage by following these:
- Cover sensitive areas with protective gear before stepping on the field to play
- Never forget to wear a seatbelt while in a car
- Properly check the depth of the water and rocks present at the bottom before diving into it
- Never drink and drive
Treatment for spinal cord injury
Call the emergency department immediately when you go through a spinal cord injury. They will immobilise the entire spine at that exact spot. The immobilisation process continues as the doctors identify if there is any life-threatening situation. According to the finding, the doctor will suggest the following procedures:
The doctors will recommend surgery if they find that the spinal cord has been compressed with a blood clot, herniated disc, or any other lesion. Surgery will help you avoid any deformity or pain in the future.
When a patient goes through a spinal cord injury, the doctor immediately admits him/her to the ICU for proper monitoring. In cases of damage to the cervical spine, traction can help bring the spine back in place. Besides this, the doctor will record your blood pressure, cardiovascular & lung function and other possibilities of infection.
People suffering from the neurological disorder of tetraplegia are under a significant threat of complications like ulcers, pneumonia, thrombosis, etc. So the doctor provides them with follow-up care to improve recovery and patient life expectancy.
Have queries or concern ?
How long do spinal cord injury patients live?
The overall five-year survival rate for people up to the age of 40 who survived spinal cord injury with tetraplegia is 47 percent. It is 62 percent for patients with paraplegia.
How can I improve my health after a spinal cord injury?
You need to take a few steps to improve your health after spinal cord injury and prevent future complications. The things you can do to improve your condition of spinal cord injury are:
- Make yourself physically fit and active.
- Eat right and lose weight.
- Improve your heart’s health
- With your doctor’s permission, some exercise programs you can undertake are aerobic exercise, stretching, and strength training.
- The last and essential step is to stay committed.
Spinal cord injury is a very severe injury a person can go through. So you must take the proper action to ensure your recovery and avoid complications in the future. There is a lot of pain associated with the injury, so avoid this situation by taking proper preventive measures.
There are many acute injuries cases of patients dying on their way to the hospital, so it is advisable to call the emergency ward immediately as soon as you go through the injury.
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