What to Know After You Suffer a Spinal Cord Injury

What to Know After You Suffer a Spinal Cord Injury

| |  Neurology

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More than 10,000 spinal cord injuries occur in the United States each year. When your spine is injured, pressure on the vertebrae and nerves can cause permanent damage not only to your back, but to any other part of your body. Severe trauma can result in paralysis. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal injury, it's important that you see a specialist in clinical neurology in Dallas, TX. He will help guide you through the recovery process and help you regain as much function as possible.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The two most common causes of spinal cord injuries are car accidents and falls. These account for more than half of serious spinal cord injuries. Other causes include sports injuries and acts of violence such as gunshot wounds. Most victims of spinal cord injuries are young men who are often otherwise healthy. Such a devastating injury is always life-altering, and it will take time to adapt to your new restrictions.

Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can be either complete, meaning there is no function left in certain areas of the body, or incomplete, meaning some function is left. Not only do spinal injuries affect your spine, they also affect the nerves, muscles, and organs that are connected to the spine below the site of the injury. This means that an injury to the spine can affect any part of your body. Some common effects of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Circulatory problems

  • Paralysis

  • Chronic pain

  • Bladder problems

How to Reduce Damage to Your Spine

It is sometimes possible to reduce permanent damage to your spine if you take the right steps after an accident. If you suspect spinal damage, do not move after your injury€"let an emergency team stabilize your back and neck to prevent further damage. It's important to seek medical treatment right away if you suspect an injury to your back or neck. Your doctor may take a CT scan, MRI, or x-ray to determine the extent of your injury.

Treating a Spinal Cord Injury

Because a spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating injuries you can receive, it can take months or years before you begin to see progress. Surgery may help to repair some damage, but it can't fix every problem. Mobility after a spinal cord injury will often be difficult or impossible on your own. You may need to use devices such as a walker, leg braces, or a wheelchair. You may also need to use devices to help you communicate or reach objects on the floor.

Your doctor will put together a team of experts in clinical neurology in Dallas, TX, who will help you during your rehabilitation. Chiropractors and physical therapists can help to stimulate your damaged nerves and increase strength and endurance to the damaged areas of your body. Other experts will help you adjust to living with your disabilities. Emotional therapy also plays an important role in adjusting to your injury. The good news is that given enough time, it's often possible to regain much of your lost mobility and significantly reduce your other symptoms.

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