Spinal Cord Injury

  • Spinal cord injury involves damage to the nerves within the bony protection of the spinal canal. It commonly leads to paralysis. A spinal cord injury does not mean the spinal cord is severed – in many cases, the spinal cord is bruised and intact.
  • Spinal cord trauma is more than a single event. It includes the initial blunt force damage and a second wave of destruction caused by a number of factors: a release of chemicals in the body, swelling, compression, and loss of oxygen.

Causes:

  • Trauma
  • Diseases acquired at birth or later in life
  • Tumors
  • Electric shock
  • Poisoning
  • Loss of oxygen related to surgical or underwater mishaps

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Loss of sensation or motor function
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Sexual/erectile function
  • Low blood pressure
  • Autonomic dysreflexia
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Spasticity
  • Chronic pain
  • Autonomic dysreflexia - a reaction of the involuntary nervous system due to over-stimulation
    • Severe headache
    • Anxiety
    • Blood pressure jumps drastically
    • Profuse sweating
    • Flushing or rash on skin above lesion or injury
    • Bradycardia (slow heart beat)
  • Secondary conditions
    • Pressure ulcers
    • Urinary tract infections
    • Respiratory complications
    • Obesity
    • Depression