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Spinal Cord Injuries – Symptoms and Treatments

Treatment for a spinal cord injury is still in its research phase as doctors and scientists continue to find cure. In the meantime, you should focus on preventing more damage to the spine and the body as soon as you spot an injury to the spine.

A spinal cord injury can cause pain and paralysis. The severity of the injury can be classified into complete and incomplete spinal cord injury. With complete spinal injury, almost all of the sensory and motor functions of the affected area below the injury are lost. This means that the person cannot feel or control movement in the areas that the spinal cord injury has affected. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, a person has retained some feeling and control of movement in the affected area.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury

If you see someone who has sustained physical injuries due to a high-impact accident, it is important to determine whether the person has spinal cord injury. Obvious symptoms include: the loss of movement or control of movement; loss of sensation; loss of bowel and bladder control; intense pain in the spinal cord; difficulty breathing; and weakness or incoordination in any part of the body. Other symptoms to watch out for are numbness in the hands, fingers, feet or toes, loss of balance, and a twisted neck or back. These symptoms should never be taken for granted as immediate medical attention is crucial for the person with spinal cord injury.

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury

It is unfortunate that spinal cord injury cannot be reversed. However, there are treatment methods to ensure that the injury does not cause more damage to the spine and the entire body. Treatment for spinal cord injury focuses on the prevention of further damage to the spinal cord. Therefore, treatment starts at the site of the accident where the injured person has just sustained the injury.

The first thing to do is to immobilize the injured person. Any movement of the body can increase pain and damage to the spinal cord. For this reason, you should avoid moving the victim at all times. To prevent movement, place towels or any other cushion on both sides of the head. Make sure also that no one touches the victim except the paramedics.

With the doctor’s supervision, medication can be given to the victim to reduce inflammation and pain. Inflammation in the spine can cause more complications such as nerve cell death and paralysis. Surgery may also be required to remove debris from fragmented bones, vertebrae or other objects that may be compressing the nerves of the spine. These medical interventions can prevent more damage and even improve the condition of the victim.

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