Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are commonly seen and treated and can vary widely in severity. Some cases of spinal cord injury can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia, or the loss of sensation, control, or movement, partially or totally, in various areas of the body.
Causes of spinal cord injury
There are two types of spinal cord injury that are separated out based on the cause of the injury.
- Traumatic spinal cord injury: These injuries are due to instantaneous external impact with the spine of varying force. Such injuries could be caused by a vehicle accident, sporting accident, penetration of the spine, or a force of any other nature that impacts the spine.
- Non-traumatic spinal cord injury: These injuries arise from issues or complications such as degenerative spinal arthritis causing narrowing of the spinal canal, spina bifida, infections, tumors, or surgical complications that affect the spinal cord.
- Some people with underlying spinal canal narrowing or spinal stenosis can be involved in a trauma and be more susceptible to injury to the spinal cord.
- Patients with spinal injuries from trauma will often have head injuries as well as other organ systems.
What are the symptoms of a spinal cord injury?
There is a range of severity of symptoms as well as the physical area or body systems that are affected. This depends on the severity of the impact and on the which part of the spinal cord is affected. Symptoms can include:
- Loss of motion in the limbs, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Reduced muscle control
- Reduced sensation
- Loss or reduction of sexual function or bowel function
- Loss of function of various organ systems