All You Should Know About Spinal Cord Injury
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13, March 2023

All You Should Know About Spinal Cord Injury

A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can be defined as damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerve injury at the end of the spinal canal which causes permanent changes in strength, capacity, and other body functions below the site of the injury, thereby resulting in the loss of mobility.

Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include car accidents, gunshots, falls or diseases like polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s ataxia, etc.). These kinds of injuries are quite different from back injuries, such as ruptured discs and spinal stenosis. Spinal cord injuries can prove to be debilitating and can dramatically impact the quality of the patient’s life. These can differ in terms of complexity and the area of the spine that has been affected. 

Types of Spinal Cord injuries
Based on the nature and extent of the injury, spinal cord injuries can be broadly classified into two major types:

  • Complete Spinal Cord Injury
  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Complete Spinal Cord Injury - It involves the complete loss of sensory and motor function in the area of the body lying below the level of the injury. 
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury - As the name suggests, there is a partial loss of sensory and motor function which means that the patient is able to use his/her limbs partly. 

There are two additional types of spinal cord injuries, classified on the basis of the extent of paralysis. 

  • Tetraplegia 
  • Paraplegia 

Tetraplegia - It is also referred to as quadriplegia and is marked by the loss of motor and sensory function in the upper and lower parts of the body. This involves the upper limbs, lower limbs, pelvic organs, chest, and trunk. 

Paraplegia - It is a type of paralysis that affects only the lower extremities and does not involve your arms. This involves the pelvic organs, trunk, and legs. 

When is the right time to see a doctor?
Spinal cord injuries usually call for the need of immediate medical attention as the time between injury and treatment can be critical in determining the extent and severity of complications and the possible extent of expected recovery. Even if the person is feeling fine, it is important to go for a proper evaluation, as sometimes the damage is progressive and can worsen with time. It is especially important to see a doctor if:

  • You are experiencing significant trauma to your head or neck 
  • You are experiencing extreme back pain that is worsening with movement 
  • You are experiencing paralysis in any part of the body 
  • You are experiencing weakness and incoordination
  • You are experiencing loss of bladder and bowel control
  • You are experiencing a loss of balance 
  • You are experiencing breathing difficulties 

If you are experiencing any of these, consult an expert specializing in the treatment of the spinal cord in Delhi.

Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Knowing about the level of injury to the spinal cord is helpful in predicting what parts of the body might be affected by paralysis and loss of function. These injuries are even classified according to their different levels;

  • Cervical (neck) injuries usually result in quadriplegia.
  • Injuries above the C-4 level may require a ventilator for the person to breathe.
  • C-5 injuries often result in shoulder and biceps control, but no control at the wrist or hand.
  • C-6 injuries generally yield wrist control, but no hand function.
  • Individuals with C-7 and T-1 injuries can't straighten; they still may have dexterity problems with the hand and fingers.
  • At T-1 to T-8, there is most often control of the hands, but poor trunk control results from a lack of abdominal muscle control.
  • Lower thoracic injuries (T-9 to T-12) allow good trunk control and good abdominal muscle control. Her sitting balance is very good.

What to expect after the treatment?

After treating spinal cord injury, the affected area is usually swollen resulting in visible changes in every system in the body. After some time the swelling begins to go down, and people may regain some functioning. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, the individual may recover some function within approximately 18 months following the injury. However, in rare cases, people regain some functioning years after the injury.

So, if your symptoms match with the above symptoms then you should immediately go for spine surgery in Delhi but only under the guidance of a spine specialist. At the same time, it is also imperative that the treatment you are opting for should be from the best hospital like IBS Hospital.

Dr Aaksha Shukla By -Dr Aaksha Shukla | March 13, 2023 | 9 Min Read

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