Your spine is one of the most sensitive and important parts of your body, and it is responsible for almost every movement that you can do both with your arms or legs. If you ever experience a more serious spinal injury, there are a few very bad consequences from it, but we’re not here to scare you, so let’s take a look at some of the things that you should know.
First of all, the location of the injury plays a significant role in what the outcome will be. Generally speaking, the higher up that the damage is sustained, the poorer the prognosis will be. This rule of thumb is corroborated on the SCIprogress website, which explains that injuries to the cervical region (which refers to the neck area), are considered as the most severe of all types of spinal injury.
Spinal cord injuries are also classified as either incomplete or complete. A complete spinal cord injury causes a total loss of sensation and movement below the injury site. An incomplete spinal cord injury, however, results in a partial loss of sensation and movement below the injury says Scott Jones.
You should keep your spine protected at all times, and even if you are an athlete, it is a lot better to injure something else rather than injuring your spine. This means that if you have the chance to act in the moment, keeping your spine safe should be a top priority.
Even if you end up breaking a hand or a leg, you can still recover very easily from that, and although your performance might not be the same as it was before the injury, you’ll still be able to continue your career or at least live a normal life. With serious spine injuries, that’s not really the case. They can be felt both physically and mentally.
Currently, there are a few different ways of treating these injuries, but our medicine is not that sophisticated yet in order to completely solve the problem and make the person feel like the injury never happened. Luckily, many doctors are optimistic about this becoming a reality in the next couple of years, so let’s hope that everything will go according to the plan.
How do people injure their spine?
Usually, these injuries happen during some kind of a sport activity, but there are a few other scenarios such as tripping and falling down on your back etc. The severity of the injury will depend a lot on how it happened, and although you can’t really lose complete control of your limbs from tripping and falling down, sometimes many other factors play a big role in the entire scenario, such as age, previous injuries and other circumstances.
Also, according to this website, some statistics show us that in the United States, one of the most common reasons for an injury of this kind are motorcycle accidents, and they are responsible for more than fifty percent of all known injuries that are connected with the spinal cord.
How can the accident be categorized?
Every spinal cord injury is different, but they can be categorized depending on the following factors.
If you lost total control over your limbs and you can’t really control them anymore after the accident happened, it means that you have a “complete” injury.
If you can still feel your limbs and you have some sense of how to move them, it means that your injury is “incomplete”, and this is obviously the better scenario.
What are the other symptoms?
There are numerous things that can happen to your body after you experience something like this, and most of them will confuse you because you never thought that they can be related to an injury of this kind. Here are some of them.
- Experiencing complete changes in your sexual function and sexual sensitivity
- Losing control of your bladder and bowel
- Unable to feel things such as heat and cold like you were able to do before
- Sudden pain that feels like it’s coming “out of nowhere” due to the damage in your nerves
- Having problems and difficulties breathing both while standing or laying down on a bed
- Spasms and other unnecessary reflexive movements, twitching
- Complete loss of movement in all your limbs
How do I know if my case is serious?
We all know at least one person of this kind that after an injury they’ll refuse to visit a doctor and check their current situation. Although that’s very wrong, we’re going to list some of the symptoms that indicate their injury is serious, so if you notice any of these, advise them to visit a doctor immediately.
- Neck is in a very weird position
- Losing balance while walking on a straight line
- Unexpected weakness in a certain area of the body
- Unbearable back pain or neck pain
- Suddenly losing all control in one of your arms or legs
- Pain and issues while trying to breathe normally
If you or a person you know experiences any of these, it might be because the injury is a lot more serious than what you thought, visit a doctor.
Treating the injury
In most cases of serious spinal cord injuries, what’s done is done and there’s still no way to reverse the negative effects. However, there are treatments and forms of therapies that allow the person to slowly re-gain some control of their limbs and live a happier and productive life, according to
These therapies usually include doing very basic exercises and movements under the monitoring of a professional. Although statistics say that a very few people manage to improve their situation, we all know those stories of people who were told that they’ll never walk again, and now they’re doing a lot more than walking, so don’t lose any hope.
If you are dedicated enough to the therapy, and you do all of the exercises on a regular basis, we believe that you can slowly regain control of your body and feel a lot better than what others expected.
Preventing the injury
It is always better to prevent something like this than having to deal with it later. So, in order to minimize the chances or completely prevent an injury like this to happen from you, make sure to do the following things.
- Drive safely and sober, alcohol is one of the main reasons for car and motorcycle accidents, and those two are the main causes of serious spinal cord injuries.
- Stay out of conflicts and don’t engage in any physical fights. Yes, physical fights and violence are responsible for about 14% of all spinal cord damages.
- Be careful when lifting weights or playing sports. Don’t attempt to do anything that you’re not sure if you can do or not. Know your limits and slowly progress towards your goal. Don’t attempt to lift weights that you’ve never lifted before without any previous preparations.