When to Suspect that You Might Be Suffering from Spinal Cord Injury
A traumatic, acute spinal cord injury is associated with an incident that causes injury to the spine causing it to be fractured, dislocated, crushed, or compressed, such as in a car accident, gunshot, or knife wound.
Anyone who has experienced injury to the head or neck should be immediately assumed to have a spinal cord injury because:
- No obvious signs and symptoms may always accompany a serious spinal cord injury. Once neglected, it may progress to a more serious injury.
- Numbness or paralysis may immediately follow a spinal cord injury.
- It’s critical to immediately treat a patient because it will determine the severity of complications and how a person may recover from the spinal cord injury.
Similarly, non-traumatic spinal cord injury may also occur, caused by a debilitating, spinal cord disease like arthritis, cancer, inflammatory disorders like ankylosing spondylolisthesis, infections, or slipped disc.
Spinal Cord Injury: When to Seek Help from Gramercy Pain Center
Not all spinal cord injuries are associated with any signs and symptoms. However, if apparent, signs and symptoms that are red flags that warrant emergency care include the following:
- Severe pain or pressure at the neck, head, or back;
- Weakness, loss of coordination, or paralysis in one or both halves of the body;
- Tingling or numbing sensation or loss of sensation in the upper and lower extremities;
- Uncontrollable urge to pee or pass stools;
- Loss of balance and inability to walk;
- Difficulty of breathing;
- Dislocated neck or back.
Moreover, despite continuous recovery, spinal cord injury patients should still watch out for signs and symptoms of long-term complications associated with a spinal injury. You should immediately consider going to your doctor when you observe the following signs and symptoms:
- Infections manifested as skin sores, fever, cough, or others;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Severe headache that may be signs of brain injury;
- Difficulty urinating and passing stools;
- Muscle pain, cramps, or spasms;
- Pain that’s increasing in severity.
Diagnosis of Spinal Cord Injury
At the emergency room, assessments of a patient who has experienced a car accident, gunshot, or knife wound may be assessed for their neurological functions and rated based on their level of eye opening response, verbal response, and motor response per the Glasgow Coma Scale.
If the patient with injury experiences neck pain, unconscious or can’t be conversed with properly, or manifest other signs of neurological injury like weakness, diagnostic tests such as the following may be warranted to determine the extent of spinal cord injury:
- Blood tests
- CT scan
How We Can Help Manage Your Spinal Cord Injury at Gramercy Pain Center
At Gramercy Pain Center, our medical group of spinal cord injury specialists headed by Ajay Varma, MD, DABA, DABAPM is here to help you with an effective spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
We offer the best spinal cord treatment procedures guaranteed to bring you back into good shape after your spinal injury. We offer good rehabilitation programs and may prescribe you with medications that may help you manage the signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury.
Our rehabilitation doctor guides the physical therapy sessions with a team that may compose of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and other experts in the field of spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
This team of experts will guide you towards a life where you can return to your normal activities if possible.
- By regaining the strength of your muscles to facilitate fine motor skills;
- Empowering and educating you regarding your condition; and
- Helping you gain new skills in order for you to return to your normal activities.
Medications that may help manage the complications associated with spinal cord injury may be prescribed. These medications include those that can control pain and muscle spasticity, against incontinence, and return to good sexual health and functioning.
FAQs About Spinal Cord Injury and Management
Q: Aside from accidents and underlying diseases, who are at risk of getting spinal cord injury?
A: Spinal cord injury is also associated with other risk factors aside from accidents and underlying diseases. These include the following:
- Being male - Traumatic spinal cord injuries occur more with men than in women, because they’re more likely than women to engage in risky behaviors like dangerous driving, male rage, and reckless decisions.
- Age - An increase in injury in the spinal column occurs between the ages of 16 and 30 (may be due to risky behaviors associated with this age group) and the elderly aged 65 years or older (may be due to this age group being more susceptible to diseases and falls)
- Alcohol misuse - Alcohol misuse is often associated with reckless behavior and thus is implicated in 25% of traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Q: What’s the prognosis for spinal cord injury patients?
A: Spinal cord injury recovery is facilitated by long-term care by a team of healthcare professionals.
Physical therapy is an important aspect of recovery to prevent worsening of symptoms like progressing into muscle wasting and permanent immobility. Occupational therapy is also helpful for you to regain new skills that may help you cope with your physical limitations.
Continuous monitoring through assessments and medical evaluations should be carried out to observe if you’re progressing towards the better with your spinal cord injury treatment program.
Psychiatrists and psychologists may also be on board to help you with your condition as anxiety or depression may also accompany your spinal cord injury. Psychiatrists may prescribe antidepressants complemented with talk therapy from psychologists.
Q: What are the new technologies available to help a patient with spinal cord injury be more independent and mobile?
A: Spinal cord research offers hope for patients with spinal cord injury as experts find ways to help these patients be more independent and mobile. Patients may use the following devices to help them maintain an active lifestyle despite their physical limitations:
- Modern wheelchairs - Modern wheelchairs include smart wheelchairs, which can adapt with the behavior and environment of its users through sensors and cameras connected to the device. It can also help the patient’s therapist gain an insight as to how the patient drives the device, which is also important in clinical decision-making.
- Computer adaptations - Key guards and voice recognition in computers can help patients with limited mobility be able to use the computer.
- Electronic aids to daily living - Voice-controlled devices like in light switches may help a spinal cord injury patient be more independent in doing their daily activities.
- Electrical stimulation devices - Functional electrical stimulation (FES) involves the delivery of small electrical impulses to stimulate parts of the body for regained function, such as enabling the patient to stand and walk. It also helps block pain signals and help the patient regain better control in urination and passing stools.
Experience the Best Spinal Cord Injury Care at Gramercy Pain Center
Despite spinal cord injuries currently being incurable, you don’t have to live a life within the shackles of your injury. At Gramercy Pain Center, our spinal cord specialty program that includes spinal cord injury stimulation is guaranteed to help our patient live with utmost comfort especially after a spinal cord injury. Start your journey towards healing and getting your life back by getting the best spinal cord injury treatment program that suits your needs. Contact us today or visit one of our branches to learn more about our services.
Dr. Varma is a tough cookie, very stern but listens to me and cares about my well being.
Dr. Varma is a great caring person and doctor.
Great doctor, very attentive.
Wonderful experience with Dr. V!
Dr. Varma was extremely attentive and informative regarding my condition.
We're Actively Treating Spinal Cord Injury Near the Following Service Areas:
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