The Basics of Spine Injury & Pain

A spine injury is any type of damage or injury that happens to the spinal cord, or to the nerves within or surrounding the spine. Those who suffer from spine injuries will find that it can cause painful or numb sensations, as well as changes in strength, body mechanics or function.

A spine injury, even if you feel that it is minor, is always serious and requires a visit to an expert physician. If you suspect that someone has sustained a spine injury, be sure to keep the injured person still unless they need to be moved and wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

Types of Spine Injuries

Those who have sustained a spine injury may have trouble controlling their limbs after the injury occurs. The severity of the injury, as well as the exact location of it, will determine what type of control the patient actually has over the limbs. The severity of the injury will fall into one of several categories.

Complete injuries, such as the severing of the spinal cord during a motor vehicle accident, are those that result in the most severe sensory loss and an inability to voluntarily control body movements.

Incomplete injuries are those that leave the patient with some motor function below the affected area of the spine. Naturally, there are different types of incomplete injury based on a number of factors.

Quadriplegia is a term for those who have their pelvic organs, body, legs, arms and hands affected by a severe spine injury. Paraplegia is a term used for those whose injury affects the body trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.

Symptoms of a Spine Injury

Those who have a spine injury can suffer from a variety of different symptoms. It is important to remember that these can vary based on the individual.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Loss of sensation/numbness
  • Impaired movement
  • Loss of control of the bowels or bladder
  • Spasms
  • Nerve pain

Those evaluating someone who was just in an accident will want to look for pressure in the neck, back or head, or extreme pain in the back. Weakness and paralysis, difficulty walking and balancing, and having impaired breathing, or numbness in the limbs can be indicators of a spine injury too.

Getting Medical Help for a Spine Injury

If you have had any type of trauma to the back, even if you feel as though you are fine, you should seek immediate medical attention. It is always a good idea to assume that those who have had some type of trauma to the back may have a spine injury and to treat them accordingly. Spine injuries might not always be obvious and they can take some time to present themselves.

The symptoms can come on gradually, so getting an exam from a professional to ensure that there is no spine injury is essential for the individual's well-being and safety. Those who wait to get help may also find that they have fewer treatment options if the spine injury worsens.

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