Spinal cord disorders may be both traumatic and non-traumatic in nature. Non-traumatic occurrences may be linked to arthritis, development of cancerous tumors, infections and/or degeneration of the spine. Traumatic spine injury may result from an injury, accident, such as a construction or trucker accident and blunt forces such as, a gunshot wound that causes deep damage to the spinal cord.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Disorder
There are a wide variety of symptoms that may relate to spinal cord disorders, depending upon the type of disorder and extent of the condition. Some of the more common generalized symptoms may include, but may not be limited to one or more of the following.
- Back ache
- Feeling of burning sensations in various parts of the body
- Extreme stinging sensation in the body
- Muscle spasm sensations
- Loss of sensation of hot and cold
- Gradual loss in muscle strength
- Decreased skin sensitivity
More serious symptoms, relating to spinal cord injury, include:
- Changes in the circulatory, respiratory and sexual functioning
- Gradual loss of control over bladder and bowel movements
- Neurological Deficits
- Difficulty breathing
Spinal Cord Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment
Injury to the spinal cord is often a case of emergency. If the individual is not fully awake, has a stiff neck and generalized weakness, the physician may immediately order certain diagnostic tests. Amongst the above mentioned symptoms, CT scan, MRI and X-rays are performed to diagnose spinal injury. In the event of a past injury, the physician may conduct a specific neurological examination to test for muscle strength and sensation.
The diagnosis of spinal cord disorders may be similar in nature to a spinal injury, along with a comprehensive consultation to review symptoms, medical history, evaluation of functional and neurological capacity, as well as, other diagnostic tests to rule out other possible conditions.
Treatment for Spinal Disorders and Injuries
Individuals suffering from an initial spinal injury may be stabilized with the assistance of traction to immobilize the injured part of the body for a certain time period. The nature of treatment for individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury or a spinal disorder relates to the results of diagnostic testing, treatment for root causes and secondary conditions, the medical provider’s area of expertise and your choice after careful review of the options when possible. The least invasive approach is the first approach, barring emergent care needs. Medications, such as, anti-pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful. Proper nutrition and exercise is often part of long term recommendations, as directed by the treating physician.
A Orthopedic Surgeon, Neurologist, Neurosurgeon, Chiropractor, and Chronic Pain Management Provider may have specific recommendations that relate to their area of expertise which may include:
Physical therapy, other non-invasive modalities, medications, and/or orthopedic surgical approaches, if the individual’s response to less invasive approaches fail- involving an Orthopedic Surgeon.
Medications or neurosurgery, involving a neurosurgeon, such as Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Occupational, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, possibly a referral from a Neurologist.
Spinal Adjustments and adjuncts for pain management, from a Chiropractor.
Pain Management Therapies from a Chronic Pain Management Treatment Provider, such as Acupuncture, Biofeedback, Massage, Tai Chi, Meditation, and other mindful techniques.
The Outcome from a Spinal Disorder or Spinal Injury
There may be different statistics associated with the results for specific treatments that relate to the specific type of disorder or injury that you have, which should be reviewed with your treatment care provider during a Q and A session. Your own personal provider may also track their success and complication rate from treatment.
Serious spinal cord injuries and conditions may involve a long term treatment plan and Rehabilitation to develop new skills to help compensate for any disabilities. Counseling may be part of the treatment plan to help manage any emotional issues.
It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.