Spinal Cord Injury: What Should I Do to Treat It?

The spinal cord, one of the most delicate parts, can sustain injuries during an accident. When they do, the aftermath is typically devastating. Someone with a spinal cord injury (SCI) will not only suffer paralysis but may also endure excruciating pain. The good news is that it doesn’t have to get that bad, especially if you receive immediate spinal cord injury treatment in Spartanburg.

A World Health Organization report states that between 250,000 to 500,000 people suffer from SCIs every year around the world. Also, spinal cord injury increases the chances of death if not adequately treated or mitigated.

Knowing the right decision to make helps you minimize spinal cord injuries. The rest of this article will tell you what you need to know about spinal cord injuries. But most importantly, it will show you what to do about it.

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury harms the spinal cord or its associated nerves and bones. Due to the sensitive nature of the spinal cord, it is protected and enclosed by a series of bones called the vertebra. These bones arrange over each other to form what we know as the vertebral column.

While the vertebra offers substantial protection and resistance to external forces, it isn’t impregnable. Certain levels of pressure can damage the cord and the vertebra.

What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries? 

Here are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries.

  • Road Accidents 

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) reports that road accidents cause spinal cord injuries among younger Americans. Road accidents also contribute the most to the estimated 17,000 yearly SCI cases in the United States. Spinal cord injuries from road accidents can happen from vehicle collisions or being hit by a driver.

  • Sports Injuries 

Several sports come with a high risk of collisions. From diving to football, studies show that 8.7% of new SCIs injuries in the U.S are sports-related.

  • Complications From Surgery 

Even though a surgery patient signs an “informed consent” document, no one wants to leave the surgery table with an SCI. However, there have been cases of spinal cord injury from surgical complications.

  • Slips and Falls 

Slips and falls cause SCIs, especially in the older population. For example, seniors are prone to falling from the stairs or poorly positioned ladders (for the daring ones).

  • Gunshot and Stab Wounds 

Acts of violence such as gun and knife attacks are common causes of spinal cord injuries. If one gets attacked from behind, bullets and knives can more easily hit the spine to cause damage.

What Happens if a Spinal Cord Is Injured?

Several things go wrong if an unfortunate accident injures the spinal cord. Here’s a list.

  • Low Heart Rate

The spinal cord relays a lot of important messages in the body. Among these messages are those for heart rate regulation. To maintain the pace of your heartbeat, the spinal cord has to receive signals from the brain.

When the spinal cord is injured, these messages can no longer deliver to the heart. Therefore, heart rate and blood pressure drop.

  • Blood Clot

After a spinal cord injury, a certain type of blood clot called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) might result. The arms and legs suffer from this blood clot the most. DVT is usually a consequence of long hours of body inactivity.

  • Breathing Difficulty

Coughing, which is necessary to clear the lungs, becomes problematic after a spinal cord injury. Also, the breathing mechanisms of the body become less effective. All of these constitute a significant challenge to one ability to breathe.

Not only will breathing mechanisms like the diaphragm perform poorly, but coughing difficulty allows unwanted substances to accumulate in the lungs without adequate discharge.

  • Spasticity 

Spasticity means the muscles are beginning to contract or tighten, a common occurrence in spinal cord injury victims. Messages on muscle stretching activities are no longer delivered to the brain after a spinal cord injury. Hence, the muscles develop stiffness.

  • Poor Bowel Control

One may lose control of their bowels after a spinal cord injury. Medical personnel may have to stimulate the rectum to motivate bowel movement. A spinal cord injury victim may also contend with diarrhea and constipation.

  • Poor Bladder Control

On a normal day, the bladder gets clues from your brain before discharging urine. However, these messages won’t get to the bladder after a spinal cord injury. When this happens, urine accumulates precariously in the bladder until it receives an artificial nudge from health personnel.

  • Pain 

Victims of spinal cord injuries usually go through a lot of pain. These pains may be sharp or chronic. Sharp because they feel like knives or pins piercing through the body; chronic because they last very long.

Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries may either be complete or incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries cause losses in the motor and sensory functions of the body. On the other hand, incomplete SCIs allow some functions to continue below the spine’s injury level.

There are four severity grades for SCIs as presented by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA). These are:

  • ASIA A: No motor or sensory function whatsoever
  • ASIA B: No motor function, but partial sensory function
  • ASIA C: Partial motor function plus slight movement
  • ASIA D: Partial motor function with significant movement
  • ASIA E: Sensory and motor functions are normal

What Do You Do After a Spinal Cord Injury?

Get expert treatment immediately at a spinal cord injury treatment center in Spartanburg. One of the most popular and safest options for spinal cord treatment is chiropractic care.

Chiropractors will manipulate your spine using natural and non-invasive techniques. These techniques will enhance your ability to perform several body functions and move around.

Amongst other benefits, chiropractors will formulate treatment plans to repair nerve malfunction, re-align the spine, and stop irritations.

How Long Does it Take for Spinal Cord Injuries to Heal?

Spinal cord injuries begin to heal immediately. However, depending on the severity and the quality of treatment and rehabilitation, the process could take a long time. SCI victims usually regain body functions after about eighteen months. In others, it could take several years after the injury.

Get Expert Care at Our Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Center in Spartanburg

Spinal cord injuries come with several crucial needs. At Carolina Spine and Pain Center, you won’t only get quality care for your injury, but our offices provide an unquantifiable atmosphere of hospitality.

Our team of doctors won’t see you as just another patient. Instead, we have a genuine concern for your case and a passion to help you improve.

So, did you sustain an SCI from an auto crash or other causes? Stop searching for auto accident doctors near me and visit our treatment center today.