SPINAL CORD TRAUMA

 A spinal cord injury is defined as any harm to any piece of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of spinal cord (cauda equina)  which  causes motor or sensory changes in quality of sensation and other body functions beneath the site of injury.

The spinal cord injuries could be very dangerous as they may affect the every part of your routine life.  You may feel the impact of your injury intellectually, physically and socially.

Numerous researchers are hopeful that individuals in research will  find some solutions to completely cure the spinal cord injuries. Meanwhile, medicines, surgery and intense post operative physiotherapy will provide solutions to numerous individuals with spinal cord wounds to lead better quality of life. 

Cause of spinal cord injuries 

Spinal cord injuries may result from harm to the vertebrae, tendons or plates of the spinal segment or to the spinal cord itself.

A  horrendous spinal cord injury may come from an abrupt, awful  injury to your spine. This might happen during fall from height or road traffics accidents and accidental falling over spine. 

A non traumatic  spinal cord injury might be brought about by joint pain, arthritis, cancer, inflammations, infections or disk generation of the spine.

Symptoms of spinal cord injury                       

The degree of the injury of the spinal cord is defined basically by the extent of cord injury caused by trauma either complete disruption of spinal cord or incomplete disruption of spinal cord which are discussed as below. 

Complete injury of the spinal cord. 

In complete injury cases all inclination (sensory) and all capacity to control development (motor function) are lost underneath the spinal cord injury. 

Incomplete injury of the spinal cord 

If there is any motor or tangible capacity beneath the influenced area, the  injury is called incomplete. There are shifting degrees of incomplete injury.

The health care team will carry progression of tests to decide the neurological level and completeness of your injury.

Spinal cord wounds of any sort may bring about at least one of the accompanying signs and indications:

  1. Loss of body movements in various grades.  
  2. Loss of modified sensation, including the capacity to feel warmth, cold and contact.
  3. Trouble in  breathing and coughing  to clear discharges from  the lungs.
  4. Agony pain or an exceptional stinging sensation brought about by harm to the nerve strands in your spinal cord 
  5. Extraordinary back pain or  weight in your neck, head or back.
  6. Weakness, incoordination or loss of motion in any piece of your body.
  7. Shivering or loss of sensation in your grasp, fingers, feet or toes
  8. Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  9. Trouble in carrying routine movements like sitting, standing and walking. 
  10. 10. Spinal shock ( stage of shock after neurological disruption of the body functions) 

Diagnosis and investigations 

Spinal cord injury along with other injuries usually present in the emergency settings. The initial steps followed by any emergency team is stabilisation if the patient including life saving treatment. Complete examination of the body is carried to rule out to rule any other associated injuries in the body. 

Magnetic resonance imaging is investigation of choice to assess the spinal cord injury which defines the extent of injury as well  as grade of injury to further decide the treatment. Contrast enhanced computerised tomography can be used to asses the bony injuries to rule out any abdominal, chest and head injuries. 

Treatment and management of spinal injury

The treatment and management of spinal cord injury  happens in  multidimensional team approach and required very dedicated team of surgeons and nurses to treat the patients.  Initial management as discussed is essentially based on stabilisation of the patient along with appropriate diagnosis. 

Medical management include medications to reduce swelling in Spinal cord, antibiotics to combat infections and intense supportive care for improvement of patients. These patients improve very slowly and gradually depending upon the extent of injury and may face complication related to injury , infections and medication induced side effects. 

Surgical management is mainly aimed to reduce the pressure on the spinal cord because of swelling cause by injury to the vertebral bones leading to indentation or compression of the spine. The routine spinal surgeries performed are decompression of spinal cord and vertebral fixation surgeries to reduce the pressure and fix the broken piece of the vertebral bodies. 

The prognosis of the surgery is good with advancements of surgical skills and techniques and promote early recovery of patients especially down in timely manner. However, the cases with associated nerve damage during injury take their own time to regenerate and recover which might take long course of time for complete recovery also. The hospital stay in such cases vary and patients require routine follow up with medications and intense physiotherapy to recover their functions of the body.

To consult with best team of Neurological and spine surgeons available at  The Surgeons House (SHL) in different global locations, please click this link for more details. 

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