Spinal cord injuries affect about 18,000 Americans annually, joining the roughly 300,000 people diagnosed with these injuries in the past.
While severe injuries are immediately obvious, some people have spinal cord injuries without realizing it. Knowing what signs to look for is critically important for making sure you get the care you need as quickly as possible.
As a top-ranked complex spine neurosurgeon in Roseville, Minnesota, David Chang, MD-PhD, DABNS, is a leading provider of state-of-the-art therapies for spinal cord injuries.
In this post, Dr. Chang offers a quick review of spinal cord injuries, along with some of the most common symptoms to look for.
Your spinal cord is a long column of nerves and other tissues contained inside your spinal column. Your spine bones (vertebrae) stack up to create a narrow, protective channel that surrounds the spinal cord.
The spinal cord contains all the nerves that travel from your brain to every other part of your body and back again. These nerves help you feel sensations and control your muscles and organs.
A spinal cord injury can affect any of the nerves contained inside your spinal column, preventing nerve signaling from taking place. Not surprisingly, spinal cord injuries can have a dramatic, lasting effect on your health and your lifestyle.
Spinal cord injuries are usually the result of a traumatic accident that causes a violent or abrupt shock to your spine. Many spinal cord injuries are caused by:
Many spinal cord injuries are obvious immediately after an accident. But sometimes signs and symptoms are initially mild enough that you may overlook or ignore them.
Because spinal cord injuries involve your nerves, the symptoms you experience can involve the way you feel sensations, the way you move, or the way your organs function. Some symptoms to look for include:
Symptoms typically occur in the area of your body below the part of your spine that’s injured.
Without prompt medical care, spinal cord injuries can worsen, causing permanent, irreparable nerve damage. If you have any of these symptoms or if you’ve had an accident involving your back or neck, call us at 651-219-7322 or request an appointment online with Dr. Chang today.