Spinal Cord Injury
Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
Damage to the spinal nerves or any part of the spinal cord constitutes a spinal cord injury. These injuries can have widespread impacts on victims, affecting everything from motor control to sensory perception. At miVIP Surgery Centers, our spinal surgeons offer various types of spinal surgery to help people who have been affected by spinal injuries.
Some spinal cord injuries can be debilitating and irreversible. However, as technology and research advance, scientists hope that every spinal injury will someday be treatable. For now, people who pay attention to spinal cord injury symptoms and seek early treatment may be able to prevent further damage.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
Spinal cord injuries are uncommon yet not as rare as many people believe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that roughly 200,000 people in the United States currently have a spinal cord injury. The same organization estimates that between 12,000 and 20,000 people may be affected by a new spinal cord injury every year.
Causes and Risk Factors
Many spinal cord injuries are caused by traumatic injury to the spine. The CDC reports that the most common causes of spinal cord injury are:
- Motor vehicle accidents, especially when victims are not wearing seatbelts
- Falls, with elderly people being at a heightened risk
- Violence, including wounds caused by guns and knives
- Sports and recreational activities
The CDC also estimates that alcohol plays a role in one in four spinal cord injuries. However, trauma is not the only cause of these injuries. Bone or joint disorders like arthritis and osteoporosis are also a risk factor for spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury symptoms vary with the severity of the injury. Many spinal injuries cause pain and pressure; some cause muscle weakness or numbness. More severe injuries can cause paralysis and full loss of feeling. Where the injury occurs and whether it is complete or incomplete determine the spinal cord injury symptoms.
In some cases, spinal surgeons can operate to limit the effects of spinal cord injuries. Surgery can reduce pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, remove objects or broken bones cutting into the spinal cord, or fuse together broken bones in the spine. These procedures can relieve pain while preventing further damage.
Spinal Cord Injury Prognosis
The prognosis for spinal cord injuries varies considerably with each injury. In some cases, if the injury is less severe and treatment is sought early, spinal surgeons can prevent further damage and improve the victim’s quality of life. However, many spinal injuries do have a life-long impact.
At miVIP Surgery Centers, our world-leading spinal surgeons perform a number of procedures. If you need more information about spinal cord injury symptoms or treatments that we offer, please call us today at 855-496-4847.