A spinal cord injury is defined as damage to a part of the spinal cord or the nerves at the tail end of the spinal canal (cauda equine). It often causes permanent changes in sensation, strength, and other body functions right below the site of injury. If you or someone you know has recently had a spinal cord injury, it may seem like all aspects of your life, and your family’s life have been affected. The effects of your injury will surely impact you mentally, socially, and emotionally.
Scientists are hopeful that developments in research will soon make spinal cord repair possible. A lot of studies and research are currently going on across the world. Consequently, treatment and rehab have allowed many SCI patients to live fruitful, independent lives.
Types of SCI
A person’s ability to control his extremities after an injury to the spinal cord depends on two elements: the location of the injury in the spinal region and the severity of the injury to the spinal cord.
Additionally, paralysis due to a spinal cord injury also has a classification.
Your team of medical professionals will do a series of exams to test the person’s neurological level and classification of injury.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms that a spinal cord injury patient will present with.
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Mechanics Of Spinal Cord Injury
SCI may be caused by destruction to the vertebrae, disks, or ligaments of the spinal column or the cord itself. A blunt blow to the spine may fracture or dislocate one or more vertebrae. Compression may also occur. Finally, the spinal cord can be damaged from direct gunshot or knife that penetrates the spinal cord. When this happens, secondary damage happens when the spine goes through inflammation, infection, arthritis, or disk degeneration.
The Central Nervous System And The Brain
The CNS encompasses the brain and the spinal cord. The latter is most of the soft tissue and is protected by the vertebrae. It begins at the base of the brain, made up of nerve cells known as tracts. These nerve cells merge just above the waist and are collectively called the conus medullaris. Just below it is its nerve roots known as the cauda equina.
The spinal cord tracts are responsible for sending impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. The motor tracts (pathways) send signals to control muscular movement, while the sensory tracts send signals that are associated with cold, heat, pain, pressure and position of the extremities.
Common Causes Of Spinal Cord Injuries
These are some of the leading causes of SCI in America.
Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
Being cautious and following these helpful tips may decrease one’s risk of spinal cord injury: