A spine injury can affect almost every aspect of your life. When the spinal cord is injured, the brain cannot send messages to the other parts of the body in the same way it used to.
It affects many of your body’s functions, including your ability to feel & move, breathing, bladder & bowel control, and sexual functions.
Whatever the level of your impairment, you can learn new skills and lead a fulfilling lifestyle when you choose the right healthcare provider to treat the condition.
If you or your loved one has experienced spinal cord injuries due to an accident, Injury Medicine in Greenville, SC is here to help you.
From our many decades of experience in treating spinal cord injuries, our expert healthcare providers understand how important it is to focus on improving your quality of life.
We will create a personalized plan for your spine injury treatment in Greenville.
The professionals at Injury Medicine, Greenville, SC are ready to work with you and your family to set realistic and specific goals and provide you with the relevant skills to achieve your own optimal independence level.
The Structure of the Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is a long and cylindrical structure that connects your brain to the lower back area. This cord contains nerve cells, tissues, and fluids. There is a bony column of vertebrae surrounding the spinal cord to protect it.
The spinal cord carries electrical nerve signals throughout your body. These nerve signals perform an important job by helping to move your muscles and feel sensations.
What Is the Spine’s Function?
The spinal cord’s main function is to carry nerve signals across your body. These nerve messages have three important functions including:
- Report senses to the brain – Signals from other parts of the body help the brain process sensations like pain and pressure.
- Control body movement and functions – Signals from the brain to other parts of the body helps control movement. They also direct involuntary functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and bowel & bladder function.
- Manage reflexes – The spinal cord controls some reflexes in the body without involving the brain.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury is damage to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. There are many causes of spinal cord injuries including trauma due to auto accidents & falls, or diseases including spina bifida, polio, Friedreich’s ataxia, etc.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Symptoms of spinal cord injuries widely vary. The location of the injury on the spinal cord will determine how severe the symptoms are and which part of the body is affected by it.
The spine will be in shock soon after the injury, and it may cause a decrease or loss in feeling, muscle movement, and reflexes. Other symptoms can appear over time depending on the location of the injury.
The higher up the injury on the cord, the more severe the symptoms are. For example, an injury to the neck or the first and second vertebrae in the spinal column may affect your ability to breathe.
On the other hand, a lower injury may affect nerve and muscle control of the bladder, bowel, and legs, and sexual function. Here are some of the common symptoms of acute spinal cord injury:
- Breathing problems
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of bowel and bladder function
- Loss of voluntary muscle movement in the chest, arms, or legs
- Loss of feeling in the arms, chest, or legs
Emergency signs and symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Pressure on the head, back, or neck areas
- Extreme pain in the back
- Impaired breathing after the injury
- Twisted neck or back
- Loss of sensations in the hand, feet, toes, or fingers
Spine Injury Treatments
There is no effective way to reverse damage to the spinal cord. The latest research focuses on prostheses and medications to improve functions of the nerves and promote nerve cell regeneration.
Current spinal cord injury treatments focus on preventing further injury and empowering patients with a spinal cord injury to return to an active and productive life.
Call Injury Medicine today about spine injury treatment in Greenville, SC.
At the Scene of the Accident
Treatments for spinal cord injuries should begin at the scene of the accident. Emergency medical personnel will immobilize the spine of the patient as gently and quickly as possible with the use of a rigid neck collar and a rigid carrying board.
Then the patient is transported to a hospital for further treatments.
In the Emergency Room
In the emergency room, the healthcare provider will focus on maintaining the patient’s ability to breathe properly and prevent any shock. They will immobilize the neck to prevent further spinal cord damage.
The doctor will also monitor possible complications, including stool or urine retention, respiratory & cardiovascular difficulty, and formation of deep vein blood clots in the extremities.
After the initial condition of the patient stabilizes, the healthcare provider will focus on preventing secondary issues including muscle contractures, deconditioning, respiratory infections, pressure ulcers, blood clots, and more.
Use of Medications
Medications are used to manage some of the issues that arise due to a spinal cord injury. For example, medications that control pain and muscle spasticity and medications that improve bowel and bladder control and sexual functions.
Rehabilitative treatment is important during the early stages of recovery. Therapists will try to strengthen muscle functions, redevelop fine motor skills, and help the patient learn new ways to adapt to day-to-day tasks.
Common Causes of Spine Injuries
Spine injuries result from damage to the vertebrae, discs, or ligaments of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself. A spinal fracture can lead to damage to the spinal nerve.
Here are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries:
- Auto accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Acts of violence
- Sports and recreational injuries
Spine Injury Treatment in Greenville, SC With Injury Medicine
When you or your loved one has experienced a spinal cord injury due to an auto or slip and fall accident, you need immediate medical attention from a specialist in the field.
Injury Medicine in Greenville, SC is here to help you get back on your feet and improve the quality of your life. Schedule an appointment by calling Injury Medicine in Greenville, SC at 864-866-PAIN to assess and treat your condition.