Home Health How to treat your spinal cord injuries?

How to treat your spinal cord injuries?

by Aryan
spinal cord injuries

Every adult person has 33 vertebrae in total, with each of them carrying signals to specific parts of the body. Even the slightest of misalignments in any of these could have a considerable impact on the body. 

Damage to the spinal cord can occur in various ways, but external trauma is the most prevalent cause. Non-traumatic damage to the spinal cord is possible due to tumors, blood loss, or stenosis, albeit not nearly as common.

Anyone suffering from a spinal condition can only get treatment when they know the cause of their suffering. 

What is a spinal cord injury?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when the spinal cord is damaged and a loss of function, such as movement and sensation, occurs. 

Loss of function can occur even if the spinal cord is not severed. In truth, the backbone is usually intact in individuals who have had a spinal cord injury, but the damage causes them to lose function. Back injuries such as ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, or pinched nerves are not the same as spinal cord impairments. 

If only the vertebrae break and the backbone itself is unaffected, a back or neck break without suffering a spinal cord injury is possible. After stabilizing the bones, the person may not experience paralysis this article.

Causes of spinal cord injuries

Damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs of the spinal column, as well as the spinal cord itself, can cause spinal cord injuries.

A quick, severe impact to your spine that dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more vertebrae can result in a traumatic spinal cord injury. A gunshot or knife attack that enters and tears your spinal cord can also potentially cause it.

The various types of spinal cord injuries

Cervical injury

The upper section of the spinal cord is in the cervical region of the spine, consisting of seven vertebrae (C-1 to C-7) in the neck.

Cervical injuries are the most severe spinal cord injury because they impact a more consequential body section and are closest to the brain. A cervical injury will result in tetraplegia/quadriplegia. As a result, there is minimal or no feeling or mobility below the neck and shoulders. In almost every case, you will end up needing a neck specialist to take away the pain. 

Thoracic injury

Individuals with a thoracic spinal cord injury lose motor control and feeling in their trunk or legs (paraplegia). The degree of control and sensations retained varies based on the extent and intensity of the spinal cord damage. Some people suffer weakness and have trouble coordinating their leg motions, while others suffer complete paralysis. The spinal cord is attached to a distinct group of muscles for movement and a particular skin patch for perception at each level. Muscle groups and skin of the trunk and inner arms have innervations in the thoracic region of the spinal cord. 

There are 12 levels in total: T1 through T12. The more functions compromised by the spinal cord damage, the worse it is. This scenario happens when brain impulses can’t pass through the damaged nerve segment, causing disruptions in the distribution of signals to regions below the degree of injury. 

The upper chest, mid-back, and inner arms muscles are most affected by T1-T5 thoracic spinal cord injury. As a result of the loss of trunk stability, those with higher-level thoracic injuries may have trouble sitting upright.

People with T6 or greater level injuries are also more prone to develop autonomic dysreflexia, a disorder that impairs involuntary functions such as body temperature regulation, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Lumbar injury

SCIs to the lumbar spinal cord can be complete or partial, affecting one or both sides of the body. The extent of the spinal cord damage will define the severity of the injury and symptoms for the patient.

It’s also crucial to recognize that the lumbar vertebrae vary from the higher portions of the spine in that the spinal cord does not run the complete length of the lumbar spine. The lowest vertebral segment with spinal cord tissue is L2. From this point onwards, nerve roots leave the spinal cord and leave each of the remaining lumbar divisions.

Injury to the hips and legs below this level (at the L3, L4, and L5 vertebrae) can induce numbness that extends to the feet (sciatica). It may also cause damage to the caudaequina, a network of spinal nerves and nerve roots that runs from the lower lumbar region to the sacrum.

Sacral injury

While the sacral spine does not have a spinal cord, the sacral nerves begin in the lumbar spine. Injury to the nerve roots in the lower lumbar spine and sacrum can cause symptoms comparable to spinal cord damage. 

Symptoms of sacral nerve injury can occur on either one or both sides of the body. Patients with such injuries may have some loss of function in their hips or legs. 

The control center for pelvic organs like the bladder, intestine, and sex organs is in the sacral area. Sexual function is a problem, especially in males who have suffered impairments in this area. Men’s fertility can be harmed by sacral damage, whereas women’s fertility is usually unaffected.


If your spinal pain isn’t showing signs of dissipating, it may be time for a back pain doctor to have a look. Your doctor may order a test such as an X-ray, MRI scan, or CT scan to have a closer look at the problem. After a successful diagnosis, your treatment may begin. 

Treatment options

Neurological care

Many neurologists give trigger point injections for treating muscular discomfort and inflammation. To relieve nerve irritation, they can also deliver epidural injections, sometimes known as nerve blocks. If nerve malfunction is the cause of spine pain, neurologists will examine the situation and devise the best therapeutic approach to relieve the symptoms.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists can help strengthen the back muscles, increase your mobility, and improve posture. Another method of therapy for back problems that might provide relief is injections.

Chiropractic treatment

Spinal misalignments, which can result in a pinched nerve or misaligned vertebrae, can also cause discomfort. Chiropractors are experts in the alignment of the spine. For treating the origin of spinal pain, mild corrections to misalignments are feasible for restoring proper arrangement or reduce pressure on pinched nerves.

Surgical operations

Surgery to treat an acute spinal cord injury follows up shortly after the incident. Patients with partial SCI are more likely to require immediate corrective surgery. If the neurologic impairment worsens, an urgent medical procedure becomes necessary. The possible surgical procedures include: 

  • Spinal laser surgery
  • Endoscopic spine surgery
  • Cervical spine surgery
  • Spinal stenosis surgery
  • Spinal cord injury

In conclusion

Spinal cord injuries may be traumatic or non-traumatic. Regardless of how the damage occurs, no one should have to live through unnecessary pain. Fortunately, there are a plethora of treatment options that can help bring relief to your symptoms. But surgery is never an advisable decision unless there is no other option. 

Nevertheless, one must never forget that prevention is always the best treatment. So make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle and keep undesirable pressure off your spinal cord. 

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