A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when the nerves and cells associated with the spine are compressed or damaged. SCIs affect the spine’s ability to send or receive pain signals to the brain, motor skills and independence beneath the injury. Many Idaho residents coping with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall know how difficult it is to live with a spinal cord injury.
Half of all spinal cord injuries result in a complete loss of motor and sensory function, and men represent 90% of sports-related SCIs. The spine is more likely to be bruised than fractured with a spinal cord injury. Some functionality might return to parts of the body adjacent to the injury. A loss of function might not occur at once but increase over time. After this type of an injury, it’s important to note any unusual sensations that might require prompt medical attention.
Signs your SCI needs medical attention
It’s not uncommon for people to experience a personal injury such as an SCI after an auto accident and not seek medical attention immediately. Many will opt to self-treat at home and hope things improve. The following signs should not be ignored and encourages urgent medical attention:
• Pain or pressure in the neck, head or back
• Tingling sensation in extremities
• Loss of body function
• Difficulty breathing
• Fever or vomiting
Seeking medical attention immediately after an injury is the most prudent action. Some contusions and fractures can only be seen in an X-ray, MRI or ultrasound.
Treatment and prognosis
Some SCIs improve with rest, icing or heating the area and pain relievers like anti-inflammatories. Others might require surgical intervention to repair the damage. In many cases, physical therapy assists the healing process. Advances in spine trauma treatment provide an encouraging outlook.