Wesley Chapel Spinal Cord Injury Doctor
Not all spinal cord injuries confine their victims to a wheelchair. Only the most serious spinal cord injuries, generally resulting from trauma such as motor vehicle or sports accidents, cause paraplegia or quadriplegia. Many people may suffer from spinal cord injuries and have no obvious symptoms, although their condition may deteriorate over time, which may lead to a person requiring surgery. A Wesley Chapel spinal cord injury doctor can diagnose and treat those with non-traumatic spinal cord injuries to help them find relief.
Compression of Nerve Roots
Compression of the spine’s nerve roots can cause various spinal cord injuries. Such compression may result from spinal injuries, herniated discs impacting the spinal nerves, tumors, infections, hematomas, or abnormal alignment of the bones. In older adults, the most common cause of spinal cord compression is osteoarthritis, the wear and tear on spinal bones. Spinal cord compression symptoms may develop over time or appear suddenly. Suspect spinal cord compression if experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Stiffness and pain in the back, anywhere from the neck to the lower spine
- Loss of sensation, especially in the feet
- Weakness or numbing of the hands, feet, or legs
- Hand coordination problems
- Impotence or other sexual dysfunction
- A foot weakness causing a limp, known as foot drop
Narrowing Spinal Cord Injuries
Cauda equina syndrome may result from spinal cord narrowing or from a herniated disc, infection, or tumor. Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome vary, but they will worsen over time. Such symptoms include lower back pain, loss of sensation in the legs, feet, and buttocks, as well as sexual dysfunction.
In a worst-case scenario, the patient loses bowel and bladder control, requiring an immediate trip to the emergency room. Waiting to receive such treatment can mean permanent paralysis as well as incontinence.
The syndrome occurs when the spinal nerve roots are compressed. The nerve roots known as the cauda equina – for their resemblance to a horse’s tail – are in the spinal cord’s lower end and send messages to and from the feet, legs, and internal organs within the pelvis.
Seeking Treatment in Wesley Chapel
After conducting a thorough physical exam and a complete medical history, including information about when the symptoms started and their range, a doctor orders a series of tests for diagnostic purposes. Such testing may include X-rays, bone scans, CT scan, and MRIs. The latter two tests allow for a Wesley Chapel spinal cord injury doctor to see the spinal cord and related structures in detail. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment may begin.
Some patients with spinal cord compression require surgery, but in many cases, these procedures are minimally invasive. For example, if testing reveals that a herniated disc is the culprit, the disc may be removed via minimally invasive surgery, which results in a faster healing time and less downtime.
Some patients may recover with a physical therapy regimen and a special exercise program. Pain relief may include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or the use of steroid injections for long-term relief.
Working with a Spinal Cord Injury Doctor in Wesley Chapel
If you have symptoms indicative of a spinal cord injury such as spinal compression, call and arrange a consultation. If the spinal cord injury resulted from trauma, seek emergency medical assistance at the nearest hospital.
However, in most cases, you may benefit from an appointment with a Wesley Chapel spinal cord injury doctor. They can work with you to determine the cause of your injury so that you can move forward with your life.