Broward County Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, and may cause permanent disability. If you or a loved one suffers a spinal cord injury, prompt treatment can mean the difference between regaining mobility and a good quality of life, and lifelong struggles. A Broward County spinal cord injury is always a medical emergency, so if you have suffered one, seek help immediately from a skilled spinal cord doctor.
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
Sudden trauma—especially from motor vehicle accidents—is the primary cause of spinal cord injuries. Other types of trauma that can result in spinal cord injuries include sports injuries, falls, and violent injuries such as a gunshot wound to the spine. Young males are the most frequent victims of spinal cord injury, but anyone can suffer such a trauma.
Medical conditions and maladies like infections, inflammation, and tumors can also cause spinal injuries. Patients with a condition known as spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal cord, are at greater risk of developing a spinal cord injury.
Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries fall into two major categories: complete and incomplete. After a complete spinal cord injury, the patient cannot feel or move their body beneath the injured area. This generally results in paraplegia, the loss of use of the legs, or quadriplegia, the loss of use of all four limbs. Either way, related bodily functions are also affected. Patients with complete spinal cord injuries are usually confined to wheelchairs for the rest of their lives.
When an injury is incomplete, there is still some feeling and function below the affected area. Those with incomplete injuries who never experienced paralysis have the best odds for recovery.
Regardless of category, spinal cord injuries require substantial rehabilitation efforts for the patient to increase the likelihood of a full or partial recovery.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
While anyone suffering a complete spinal cord injury has obvious symptoms and is unable to move parts of their body, those with incomplete spinal cord injuries may experience more varied symptoms. These can include:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Loss of sexual function
- Problems with balance or walking
- Numbness or loss of sensation in the extremities
- Weakness or incoordination
- Severe back pain, or a feeling of strong pressure on the back, neck, or head
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
The spine requires prompt stabilization to avoid further spinal cord injury. Patients diagnosed with spinal cord injuries are usually started on a high steroid regimen to aid in the reduction of swelling and inflammation. For those with an incomplete injury, surgery may be needed if the spine is unstable or if there is compression of the spinal cord, as these are often symptoms of fractured bones and/or hematomas.
Surgery may include spinal fusion, a procedure in which two vertebrae are fused via a bone graft and held together with plates, screws, and other hardware. Recovery from spinal fusion may take several months.
Progression with Incomplete Injuries
Patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries feel more pain than those with complete injuries, which is actually a positive sign. Experiencing pain means the body has more sensation. A spinal cord doctor in Broward County may discuss pain treatment options with each individual patient.
Patients with spinal cord injuries generally progress the most during the first six months of treatment.
Speak with a Broward County Spinal Cord Surgeon Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, contact one of our Broward County spinal cord surgeons to arrange a consultation and assessment.