The spinal cord runs from the tip of the brain stem all the way down the spine in the lower back. The spine contains seven cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, sacrum, coccyx, and various nerves.  Spinal cord injuries affect any of these pieces and have different symptoms depending on where the injury occurs. Here are some of the injuries associated with the spot of the spin that is damaged.

Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Center

Injury areas and symptoms

Here are four different vertebrae and the side effects of damaging one of them.

Cervical: The Cervical vertebrae is the spinal nerves that control head, neck, shoulder, and arm movements.  Injuries in this area result in full or partial quadriplegia, trouble or loss of breathing control, and weakness or difficulty controlling the upper extremities.

Thoracic: The Thoracic vertebrae is the spinal nerves that control the trunk and abdomen.  Injuries in this area result in paraplegia (lower limbs) and difficulty controlling trunk or abdominal muscles.  This type of injury usually does not affect the upper extremities.

Lumbar/Sacrum: The Lumbar and the Sacrum vertebrae are spinal nerves that control lower body motion.  Injuries in this area result in difficulty controlling lower extremities, loss of bowel and urinary control, and sexual dysfunction.

Diagnosis and treatment

X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography scan (CT scan) are three possible techniques for diagnosing spinal cord injuries.  The most important thing immediately after a suspected spinal cord injury is immobilization in order to protect the spine from further damage.  Surgery is sometimes necessary to relieve pressure from the spine, remove bone fragments or foreign objects, or to repair spinal structures to improve stability.

Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Center

After surgery,  it is important to find a treatment center that specializes in spinal cord injury. rehabilitation helps to regain as much normal function as possible.  It is possible to regain full function of the spine, although, depending on the injury, it is possible that some or all of the symptoms are permanent.

Fox Subacute is a spinal cord injury treatment center with three locations in Plymouth Meeting, PA, Warrington, PA, and Mechanics burg, PA.  For more information on spinal cord injuries and treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.