Pinellas County Spinal Cord Injury Doctor
In a worst-case scenario, a spinal cord injury may result in paralysis, either paraplegia or quadriplegia, and confinement to a wheelchair. Other types of spinal cord injuries are not as severe and the prognosis is generally much better with the possibility of eventual recovery.
Most spinal cord injuries result from car accidents, but these are not the only causes of these severe injuries. Other common causes of spinal cord injuries include falls, sports injuries, or assaults. However, not every spinal cord injury involves trauma. Non-traumatic spinal cord injuries may result from tumors, infection, inflammation, or other causes. A Pinellas County spinal cord injury doctor could make a diagnosis and ensure you receive the right treatment an injury. Speak with a skilled surgeon and know that you are in capable hands.
Major Types of Spinal Cord Injuries in Pinellas
There are two major types of severe spinal cord injuries: Complete and incomplete. In a complete spinal cord injury, the patient is unable to feel or move the body below the affected area.
This is where paraplegia or quadriplegia, the loss of leg use or the use of all limbs, respectively, occurs. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the patient still possesses feeling as well as functionally beneath the area where the injury occurred.
Various conditions put pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in compression. Those suffering from spinal cord compression issues have a better chance of recovery than patients with complete or incomplete injuries.
The compression may occur anywhere on the spinal cord, from the neck to the lower back. These conditions may develop over time or appear suddenly. Primary symptoms of spinal cord compression include:
- Burning sensations
- Cramping in the arms and legs
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of sexual function
Common conditions causing spinal cord compression include:
- Osteoarthritis- resulting from long-term wear-and-tear, this occurs primarily in older people
- Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease
- Scoliosis and other abnormal spinal alignments
- Bone diseases
Any patient should call a doctor or go to an emergency room at once if experiencing bladder or bowel control loss, severe numbing in the legs or thighs, or weakness or pain that prevents them from walking or getting up from a seated position. If a person is experiencing chronic back pain or has sustained an injury to the spine, they should get in contact with a Pinellas County spinal cord injury doctor to learn more.
How a Pinellas County Spinal Cord Injury Doctor Can Help
A spinal cord injury doctor makes a diagnosis via tools such as X-rays, CT scans or MRIs, bone scans or electromyography. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, a treatment plan begins. In an emergency, surgery is required, but most cases of spinal cord compression are initially treated with medication, such as steroids to reduce swelling and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. The doctor may also prescribe a brace to aid in back stabilization and design physical therapy regimen for strengthening the back muscles and those of the legs and abdomen.
Spinal cord injuries require prompt medical attention. While traumatic spinal cord injuries are initially treated at a hospital, non-traumatic injuries are often mistaken by the patient as less serious than they really are. If you or a loved one experience even mild spinal cord injury symptoms, call a Pinellas County spinal cord injury doctor and make an appointment.