Spinal trauma is caused by damage to any part of the spinal cord that results in a contusion, a partial tear, or a complete tear. A traumatic spinal cord injury may occur due to a sudden blow or cut to the spine.
Symptoms of Spine Trauma
- Muscle Weakness
- Stiff Muscles
- Muscle Spasms
- Overactive Reflexes
- Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Problems
- Difficulty of Breathing
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation
- Loss of Bladder and Bowel Function
- Loss of Sensation
- Loss of Strength
Diagnosis of Spine Trauma
Your physician will evaluate your injury by taking imaging tests of your spine, including x-rays, CT scans and MRI scans. The test will include the entire spine, not just the region where the injury is suspected. An ongoing series of thorough medical evaluations and imaging tests are necessary to understand the extent of the injury. The spine must be protected and immobilized at all times during the evaluation and diagnosis.
Treatment of Spine Trauma
- Immobilization of the head, neck and back
- Steroid medication to control swelling
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- In severe cases immediate surgery is required
Prevention of Spine Trauma
- Drive Safely – Car crashes are one of the main causes of spine trauma. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a car. Don’t drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Prevent Falls – Put nonslip mats on tile floors, use handrails along stairways and use step stools with a grab bar to reach high objects.
- Take precautions when playing sports – Always wear recommended safety gear, and avoid leading with your head in any sport you play. Also use a spotter in sports such as cheerleading and gymnastics.
- Don’t dive into shallow water – To make sure you don’t dive into shallow water, don’t dive into a pool unless it’s 9 feet or deeper. Don’t dive into any water of which you don’t know the depth.