St. Petersburg Spinal Cord Injury Doctor
While traumatic injuries, such as those caused by car accidents, are the most severe types of spinal cord injuries, many other conditions can affect the spinal cord and impair mobility. A St. Petersburg spinal cord injury doctor can conduct a thorough examination using state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures to determine the cause and extent of the injury. They then can work to devise an appropriate treatment plan.
The Spinal Cord
The spinal cord starts at the brain and ends near the spine’s bottom. Formed like a tube, the spinal cord contains nerves that send messages from the brain to the rest of the body. The vertebrae, which are each separated by discs consisting of cartilage that act as cushions and make up the spinal column, protect the spinal cord.
The spinal cord includes four sections beginning with the cervical or neck section, proceeding to the thoracic or chest area, and followed by the lumbar, or lower back region. The lowest section is the sacral section, or pelvis.
Types of Injuries in St. Petersburg
A St. Petersburg spinal cord injury doctor could examine the patient and finds out where the symptoms originate. Testing such as X-rays, MRIs, bone scans and CT scans then proceed to make a more definitive diagnosis. Some spinal cord injuries will require surgery, but others, such as abscesses, may respond to drainage and a course of antibiotics. To understand the treatment that may be necessary, it is important to know the types of injuries.
Patients with spinal stenosis experience a narrowing of the spinal space, affecting the nerves and causing pain, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking or balancing. Generally, spinal stenosis results from aging and the effects of osteoarthritis on the vertebrae. In a worst-case scenario, spinal stenosis can cause paralysis. This condition most often occurs in the lower back or neck.
Fractured vertebrae may result in spinal cord injuries. While most fractures are due to some kind of injury, such as a fall or blow, older people suffering from osteoporosis may experience breaks from even minor pressure on the vertebrae.
Spinal Cord Compression
Various factors may cause spinal cord compression. Symptoms of such compression include:
- Muscle weakness
- Bladder or bowel function impairment
- Odd sensations
Spinal cord compression may happen suddenly or gradually, depending on the cause, however sudden compression is most likely due to injury.
Infections that progress to an abscess on the spine may cause spinal cord compression. These pus pockets usually form outside the spinal cord, but can appear in the spinal cord itself. Abscesses tend to form over a time frame of several days to a few weeks.
A herniated, or ruptured, disc occurs when the gel-like interior of the disc breaks through the harder exterior, putting pressure on the spinal nerve roots. Less frequently, a herniated disc will compress the actual spinal cord. A herniated disc may occur quite suddenly.
A St. Petersburg Spinal Cord Injury Doctor Can Help
Any type of spinal cord injury requires immediate medical attention. Anyone with a severe injury should head to the emergency room, but patients with more subtle symptoms should seek the services of an experienced spinal cord injury doctor.
If you have any symptoms indicating possible spinal cord compression or a similar issue, call a St. Petersburg spinal cord injury doctor. They can examine the injury to determine a proper diagnosis and come up with an effective treatment plan.