Spinal Cord Injury Treatment in Richmond, VA
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most severe injuries you can have, both traumatic (blunt force) or non-traumatic (disease). The spinal cord is the central and main pathway for the brain to send and receive nerve signals that control our movement, sensations and organs. Any SCI can result in permanent damage with changes in strength, bodily functions and sensory perception.
Two things matter most with an SCI, the placement of the injury along the spinal column and the severity of the injury itself. The spine is like a superhighway, and like a highway there are exits, on the spinal cord they are called tracts. These tracts go to and from specific body parts and organs (controlling muscle and organ function and reporting pain). When the flow of these signals is interrupted or stopped completely by a severe SCI, body functions can stop.
After an SCI, the deepest part of the spinal cord continuing to send and receive signals is called the neurological level. At the neurological level, there are two types of injuries:
- Complete: No signals are finishing their journey and body functions will not continue.
- Incomplete: Some signals are getting through and a portion of body functions are still intact.
With limited signals-or no signals-getting through, paralysis is a result.
- Tetraplegia (quadriplegia): effecting the arms, legs, body trunk, and pelvic organs.
- Paraplegia: effecting all or part of the trunk, legs and pelvic organs.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation (unable to feel hot/cold or pressure)
- Bowel/bladder dysfunction
- Exaggerated reflexed/muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Severe pain (sometimes presented as an extreme stinging sensation indicating nerve fiber damage)
- Difficulty breathing, coughing with fluid retention in lungs
- Extreme pain in the back or neck
- Extreme pressure in the neck back or head
- Numbness and/or tingling (Paresthesia) of the hands, feet, fingers, toes
- Disfigured neck and/or back
It should be noted that pain and numbness may not be immediately apparent after trauma, it's important to still seek medi cal attention as these symptoms can emerge hours later. Fluid accumulation and inflammation , along with broken vertebrae and discs. If you can catch a problem early, possible paralysis may be avoided or the severity lessoned; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Non-traumatic SCI injuries may be caused by:
- Disc disintegration
SCIs affect body function below the site on injury on the spinal cord. Thoracic (chest) injuries affecting the torso, legs, bowls and sexual organs; lumbar (lower back) injuries affecting sexual organs; and cervical (neck) affecting arms, breathing and everything listed above. As such there are several secondary symptoms of SCIs:
- Lack of temperature sensation (can't feel hot or cold) resulting in burns and/or frostbite
Orthostatic hypotension (low BP-caused by non-responding nerve receptors in the legs)
- Tertiary symptoms being deep vein thrombosis, blood clot and pulmonary embolus.
- Autonomic hyperreflexia (high blood pressure)
- Respiratory system issues like increased likelihood of pneumonia
- Cardiovascular disease
- Men aged 16-30 are most likely to have an SCI
- People over the age of 65 involved in a fall
- Engaging in risky/ reckless behavior
- A pre-existing bone or joint disorder
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Center, 35% of SCIs are vehicle related, 25% are from a fall involving someone over the age of 65, 15% are due to violence (gunshot or knife wounds) and 9% are sports related. A staggering 25% of all SCIs typically involve alcohol.
Unfortunately there are no treatments available to reverse the effects of a spinal cord injury, there are however managing treatments and new medical developments happening every day.
Request more information about Spinal Cord Injuries today. Call (540) 356-3353 or contact Truong Rehabilitation Center online.
Truong Rehabilitation Center
Address10340 Spotsylvania Ave
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Tue: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Thu: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm