Spinal Cord Injuries And Their Impact Throughout The Body


December 26, 2020

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur when you injure or damage your vertebral column or spinal cord, causing lifelong shifts in strength, sensation, and other autonomous functions below the injury. This is referred to as traumatic SCI. Whereas arthritis, inflammation, infections, spine disk degeneration and cancer can contribute to non-traumatic spinal cord injury.

If you suffer from a spinal cord injury you may notice feeling more emotional, less social and even mental anxiety. Most SCIs happen due to automobile accidents and falling — although sports and violence are contributing factors as well.

About Spinal Cord Injuries

Many in the healthcare and scientific fields are optimistic about the advancement in the treatment and repair of SCIs. Scientists are actively researching and testing these new advancements in SCIs.

Southeast Pain & Spine Care can help you manage your ongoing treatment and rehab, including pain management, so that you can live the best life that you can.

Why Does A Spinal Cord Injury Disrupt Your Lifestyle?

Disruption happens because trauma causes the spinal cord to swell, which results in the tissue in your nerves losing the necessary oxygen and blood supply. As a result, the damaged tissue in your spine dies, causing your immune system to react in overdrive.

When an SCI occurs, the spinal cord starts to swell in the damaged area, cutting off vital blood supply to the nerve tissue and depriving it of much-needed oxygen. Unfortunately, this causes a chain of destruction throughout the body, causing the damaged spinal tissue to die out, be deprived of its insulation, and additional damage due to a significant reaction of the immune system.

Symptoms of SCI

There are two factors to consider when dealing with SCI as far as the connection to your limbs and your ability to control them. These factors are – the severity of the injury directly to the spinal cord, and, the location of the damage along your spinal cord.

Spinal cord injury symptoms can include:

  • Limited or full loss of mobility
  • Full loss or altered feeling of hot, cold, or touch sensations
  • Incontinence
  • Muscle spasms and reflexes
  • Changes in intimate moods and fertility changes
  • Severe stinging or stabbing feeling in the nerve fibers of your spinal cord
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing

Emergency signs and symptoms after an accident may include:

  • Severe head, neck, back pressure or back pain
  • Physically feeling sluggish, uncoordinated or paralyzed
  • Paresthesia in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
  • Incontinence
  • Challenges with walking and stability
  • Diminished breathing post injury
  • Your neck or back contorts into a strange position

Why Does A Spinal Cord Condition Affect The Entire Body?

The neurological level of your injury is at the bottom part of your spinal cord. The extent of the damage is frequently referred to as “completeness” and is categorized as:

  1. Complete — All feelings and ability to control mobility beneath the spinal cord injury.
  2. Incomplete — Having limited functionality of your sensory or motor skills under the damaged area.

Paralysis of the spinal cord condition may be described as:

  1. Tetraplegia or quadriplegia — Your arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs are entirely affected by your spinal cord injury.
  2. Paraplegia — Affects most or a portion of your legs, trunk and pelvic organs.

When you injure your spine, you don’t always know to what extent the damage is because the symptoms may come on gradually as opposed to right away. Southeast Pain & Spine Care can help in determining the neurological level and completeness of your injury to create a management and treatment plan specific to your needs.

Take Advantage of How You Can Live Happier

Specialists at SEPSC are double board certified or board eligible in anesthesiology and neurology, including pain management. If you think that you may have injured your spine or have been diagnosed with SCI and have had no follow-up care since your diagnosis, Southeast Pain & Spine Care is waiting to hear from you.

Use our online referral form, or contact us today to learn more about SCS at SEPSC, and to schedule your appointment. In the meantime, visit our blog over here!