We have a spinal cord for transmitting signals. Sometimes, patients get this injury because of a traumatic blow to the vertebrae. You should know that a severe type of such injury can tear it completely.
When we talk about spinal cord injuries, we need to say that there are two main types. So, a patient can have a complete or incomplete type of injury. Complete types can be one of the following types:
Incomplete spinal cord injuries are also divided into such types:
- Anterior spinal cord syndrome;
- Syndrome of the central spinal cord;
- Brown-Séquard syndrome.
If the connection between the spinal cord and the body is broken, it can lead to complete immobility. In the worst case scenario, a patient may lose the ability to walk, move, or even control his breathing. Also, there may be problems with bladder and bowel control. You should know that the patient may even die from a severe type of injury.
In this article, we will talk in detail about different types of spinal cord injuries.
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
It is the most dangerous type. Such an injury deprives the cord of the ability to transmit signals to some body parts located below the injury. For example, if a patient has a lumbar spinal injury, he may lose control of his body below the waist. At the same time, he can still control his hands. But if a patient has injured your cervical spine, he may lose the ability to control body parts below the neck.
The main symptom of such disease is losing the sensitivity of those parts of the body that are located below the injury.
Other symptoms may include:
- Complete loss of mobility below the injury site.
- It is difficult to control the bladder and bowels.
- Difficulty breathing if the injury was inflicted too high.
It can be difficult to understand what kind of problem occurred in the first days after receiving an injury. It is because the symptoms of both types are pretty similar and, in the early days, have a reasonably strong intensity. However, gradually the situation will become more evident.
At this point, we suggest you figure out the names of complete spinal cord injuries in more detail.
This type of injury occurs due to a contusion of the cervical spinal cord. Such problems are usually one of the most dangerous and cause paralysis of all limbs. In some cases, it can deprive the patient of bladder and bowel control. Also, it can affect breathing and other essential basic functions. The higher the spinal cord is damaged, the more seriously it will affect the patient’s condition.
We can talk about such a spinal cord injury type when there is no sensitivity and the ability to control the lower body. It is due to damage to the thoracic spinal cord. In this case, the location of the injury again plays a role. The closer to the upper vertebra the spinal cord injury, the more severe the consequences for the patient.
It deprives the patient of sensation and the ability to control body parts in one arm and both legs.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
Such conditions also usually occur due to damage to the spinal cord. It prevents the cord from sending signals to areas of the body that are located below the injury site. In some patients, spinal cord injuries can lead to impairment of certain sensory or motor functions. Also, this spinal cord injury type can cause loss of sensation in one arm and both legs.
Fortunately, such an injury is more common and treatable. However, emergency medical attention should be called immediately if the patient has sustained such a problem. It can help to prevent severe consequences for human life and health.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries can also be of several types. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Anterior Spinal Cord Syndrome
This type of injury damages the motor and sensory pathways of the spinal cord. A patient who has experienced this type of injury may have partial sensitivity to areas of the body but cannot fully control them.
Syndrome of the Central Spinal Cord
In this case, the center of the spinal cord and the nerves for transmitting signals are damaged. Patients are less likely to experience loss of fine motor skills, paralysis, and damage to the legs. Some patients may experience problems with bowel or bladder control. Also, it can lead to losing the ability to have sex.
This injury occurs due to damage to one side of the spinal cord. The consequences of such a bruise can be expressed only on one side of the body. A patient with Brown-Secan syndrome may lose sensation in the left hand but have complete control of the right hand.
Read about the acute spinal cord injury in our other blog article.
Thus, we examined different spinal cord injury types and what subspecies they are divided into. This problem can be serious and incompatible with life, especially complete spinal cord injuries. With such a problem, a person loses the ability to feel and control areas of the body below where he received an injury. So, if a patient has received a complete type of injury in the neck area, he may completely lose control over most of his body. If the patient has such an injury, he should receive emergency medical attention immediately. It is also worth going through examinations as soon as possible to determine how this problem affected the patient’s condition.
Lone Star Neurology offers the services of highly qualified neuropathologists who daily help people deal with a wide range of neurological diseases. We also help patients with rehabilitation after injuries. We can quickly diagnose the patient’s condition thanks to modern equipment and offer a specific extraction program. Go to our clinic’s website, where you can get acquainted with our services in more detail.
- How long does it take for the spinal injury to heal?
The speed of recovery after a spinal cord injury depends on its severity. In the best scenario, recovery will be within six months after the injury. However, recovery from spinal cord injury often occurs within the first two years after the injury.
- Can spine injuries heal?
Unfortunately, a spinal injury cannot be cured. However, with proper treatment, there is a chance to reduce the severity of symptoms, to alleviate the patient’s condition, allowing him to have sensitivity in all body parts again. Researchers are constantly working to find new treatment methods, developing modern prosthetic options and drugs that help restore the function of nerve cells and improve their work.
- How serious are spinal injuries?
Spinal cord injury can be dangerous and have serious consequences. The higher the injury, the more complications. So, for example, a spinal cord injury in the neck area can paralyze all the lower limbs. Due to severe spinal cord injuries, a person can lose the ability to walk, control the bladder and intestines, and even breathe fully.
- Can you walk with a damaged spine?
Yes, with the right treatment, there is a chance that a person will be able to walk again. One of the reasons for this is the ability of the spinal cord to regenerate and succumb to neuroplasticity.
- How is a spine injury diagnosed?
To confirm a spinal cord injury, it is necessary to conduct examinations like computed tomography, MRI, or x-rays. These diagnostics can help study the pathologies and consequences of your spinal cord injury.
- Can a spine injury paralyze you?
Yes, spinal cord injury can lead to paralysis. The location of the injury affects the paralyzed area of the body. If the injury is high enough, the patient may experience paralysis of most of the body and limbs. Injuries located low can lead to paralysis of the legs and lower parts of the body. However, spinal cord injury does not always lead to paralysis in the body. The presence of paralysis depends on the extent and location of the injury.