Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
April 30, 2014
Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
The causes of a spinal cord injuries result from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself. Traumatic spinal cord injury may come from a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae. Another cause of this can be from a gunshot or knife wound that penetrates and cuts your spinal cord. An additional damage usually occurs over days or weeks because of bleeding, swelling, inflammation and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord. Non-traumatic spinal cord injury may be caused by arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections, or disk degeneration of the spine. Central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord. Made of soft tissues and surrounded by bones, extends downward from the base of your brain and is made up of nerve cells and groups of nerve called tracts, which go to different parts of your body, this is known as your spinal cord. A traumatic or non-traumatic damage affects the nerve fibers passing through the injured area and may impair part of all of our corresponding muscles and nerves below the injury site. A thoracic for lumbar injury can affect your torso, legs, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function. A cervical injury affects movements of your arms and, possibly your ability to breathe. Auto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for more than 40 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year. Falls- a spinal cord injury after age 65 is most often caused by a fall. The overall falls cause more than one quarter of spinal cord injuries. Acts of violence- as many as 15 percent of spinal cord injuries result from violent encounters. Often involving gunshots and knife wounds; according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Eight percent of injuries are caused by impact sports and diving in shallow water. One out of four spinal cord injuries involve alcohol use. Diseases such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and inflammation of the spinal cord also can cause spinal cord injuries. There are two factors – the place of injury along your spinal cord and the severity of the injury to the spinal cord. Lowest normal part of your spinal cord is referred to as the neurological level of your injury. Severity of the injury is often called the completeness. If sensory and all ability to control movement are lost below the spinal cord injury; your injury is called complete. Incomplete is if you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area. Tetraplegia or quadriplegia means your arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs. Are all affected by your spinal cord injury. Paraplegia – this paralysis affects all or part of the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs. The healthcare team you have been provide will provide a series of tests to determine the neurological level and completeness of your injury. Loss of movement, loss of bowel or bladder control, chance in sexual function and sexual sensitivity and fertility are signs of spinal injuries. Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal injuries include impaired breathing after injury, an oddly positioned or twisted neck, or back, numbness, tingling or loss sensation in your hands, fingers, feet, or toes. Difficulty with balance and walking and extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back. Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord is one of the many symptoms that occur. Around twenty five years ago my uncle Adan had a traumatic accident where he suffered a neck injury, he fell from a tree and broke his neck. He is a quadriplegic. He has overcome many obstacles since I’ve known him. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business after his...
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