An injury to the spinal cord is not that common but it still occurs. A person who experienced a spinal cord injury may realize that certain things in his or her life will change because of the injury. It is not uncommon for this injury to be the cause of permanent disability or loss of movement. Sensation below the site of injury is pretty common as well. A lot of scientists believe that one day the technology will advance so much that these spinal cord injuries will be curable. Until that time comes, those who suffered from spinal cord injuries will be able to live more productive lives due to therapy and rehabilitation.
Definition of spinal cord injury
There are two essential factors which affect a person’s ability to control his or her limbs after experiencing a spinal cord injury. These two factors are the neurological level of the injury and the completeness of the injury. Neurological level of the injury is the lowest possible functioning segment of the spinal cord which is functioning normally. When completeness of the injury is considered, it can be either complete or incomplete. In case of complete injury, all the sensory and motor function is below the neurological level. On the other hand, in case of incomplete injury a person still has some motor or sensory function below the area of the injury. In order for the complete diagnosis of the spinal cord injury to be made, the doctors will perform a number of tests. There are certain signs and symptoms which a person may experience when he or she has suffered from a spinal cord injury. In some cases only one of the symptoms is experienced but in other cases several of them are experienced at the same time. The most commonly seen signs of spinal cord injuries are loss of movement, loss of sensation and the ability to feel cold, heat and touch, the inability to control bladder or bowel, spasms, certain changes in sexual function, fertility and sexual sensitivity. Apart from these, there are a few more which occur like pain or intense stinging sensation which occurred due to damage to the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and problems with breathing, which are accompanied by coughing or clearing secretions from the lungs. In addition to these symptoms, there are those symptoms which are known as emergency ones and in case of them it is important to seek immediate medical help. Some of the most commonly seen emergency signs include severe pain or pressure in neck, head or body, weakness, paralysis anywhere in the body, numbness and loss of sensation in hand, fingers, feet or toes, loss of balance, problems with walking and impaired breathing after injury. Probably the most obvious signs are an oddly positioned or even twisted neck or back.
Certain factors may predispose you to a higher risk of sustaining a spinal cord injuring!
Just like with any other condition, there are certain factors which make someone more prone to suffering from a certain condition, disease or injury. It is no different when spinal cord injury is considered and it is important to know these factors. The first factor is being a man. According to the experts, men are more prone to these injuries than women. The data claims that only 20% of all spinal cord injuries in the United States happen to women. Those who are aged between 16 and 30 are at more risk of suffering from spinal cord injuries as well. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Taking part in certain sport increases the risk of spinal cord injury as well. Even though there are a lot of health benefits that come from being physically active, there are certain risks which may occur and spinal cord injury is one of them. The most dangerous sports for the spinal cord are rugby, football, wrestling, horseback riding, diving, surfing, ice hockey, downhill skiing and snowboarding. Those who suffer from an underlying bone or joint disease are at more risk of suffering from spinal back cord injury as well.
It is not an easy task for a doctor to always make a precise prognosis when spinal cord injuries are considered. If there is a chance of recovery, it usually starts between a week and half a year after the injury has occurred. In cases where an injury resulted in paralysis the patient is almost always scared and confused at first. Paralysis is a thing that changes someone’s life. The recovery process lasts a really long time and the most important things are that a person remains positive and has all the support he or she needs. Grieving is felt at first. Before acceptance, most people experience denial, sadness, anger and bargaining. The doctors believe it is a normal and healthy part of the recovery process. After the grieving it is important that a person takes control and the best way to do that is to get to know as much as it is possible about the injury and the possible options. Talking about the disability is very important. Looking ahead is very important as well and lots of people are surprised at all the things which can be done even if they are paralyzed.