As many as 450,000 Americans currently live with a spinal cord injury, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. If you’re one of them, and you need a fresh approach to your condition, the expert team at California Neurosurgical Institute can help with their expertise in spinal cord injury treatment. The world-class skills of the board-certified neurosurgeons at California Neurosurgical Institute could help improve or restore function following spinal cord injury. Call the Bakersfield, Encino, or Valencia, California, office today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) involves damage to the spinal cord that affects your ability to send out or receive messages from your brain.
The degree to which a spinal cord injury affects you depends on how bad the injury is, and where it is. A severe injury can cause a loss of function in every part of the body below the injury.
Your spinal cord is one half of your central nervous system (CNS) and works in partnership with the other part of your CNS, the brain. The spinal cord is full of nerves that all lead back to your brain.
These nerves form branches that lead from your spinal cord out into your body, connecting every part of you to your brain.
If you sustain an injury that damages or severs the nerves in your spinal cord, whichever part of your body those nerves are responsible for, stops receiving information from any nerves beyond the damaged section.
For example, if you have a severe spinal cord injury in your lower back, you might be unable to walk or use your legs or feel any pain or other sensations.
In the United States, road accidents cause the majority of cases of SCI in younger people. Falls account for the most SCI injuries in older people. Other causes of SCI include sporting injuries and acts of violence.
Treatment of spinal cord injuries starts with the first aid you receive when you injure your back or neck. It’s vital that as far as possible, no one moves you if you might have a spinal cord injury until emergency services personnel are on scene.
Moving someone who has a back or neck injury could cause permanent damage to the spinal cord. Paramedics and other experts in emergency medicine have the knowledge and equipment needed to move you safely.
When you get to the hospital, you’re likely to be in the intensive care unit (ICU). You might need to have spinal traction to realign your spine, especially if the injury is in your neck.
You could need emergency surgery for your spinal cord injury if your spinal cord is under pressure from a herniated disc or a blood clot, or to stop the damage from getting any worse.
Severe spinal cord injuries can cause medical complications because of the effect the injury has on the functions of all your nerves. These complications include:
Your medical team has to prevent and manage these potentially life-threatening complications to give you the best chance of recovery from spinal cord injury.
Treatment for spinal cord injuries focuses on physical therapies to build up your strength and prevent your muscles from wasting and your joints from seizing up. The degree of function you can regain after a spinal cord injury depends on the severity of your injury.
In some cases, improvement is possible, but success relies on full participation in your rehabilitation program.
The expert surgeons at California Neurosurgical Institute can also review any emergency surgery you received and discuss further surgical options that could improve function further.
To find out more about spinal cord injury, call California Neurosurgical Institute today or book an appointment online.