What are spinal cord injuries?

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that sends messages from the brain to other parts of the body’s nervous system. The nervous system is vital for humans to feel and control their body parts, such as the arms, legs and bladder.

Injuries to the spinal cord can be caused by various factors such as accidents, falls and certain diseases. How a spinal cord injury affects a person depends on two factors:

  • The area of the spinal cord where the injury occurred and;
  • The severity of the damage


The symptoms of a spinal cord injury vary for each person. If these symptoms appear after an accident or injury happened, you should seek medical assistance immediately:

  • Extreme pain in the head, neck or back
  • Weakness or inability to walk
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Numbness or tingling in the lower, upper or whole body
  • Unable to control bladder and bowel movement

Common causes

Some of the common causes of spinal cord injuries are:

  • Accidents, hard impact and collisions in sports
  • Automobile accidents
  • Hitting the head during diving
  • Gunshot wounds that impacted the spinal cord
  • Certain types of cancer and virus infections
  • Arthritis
  • Medical conditions such as spina bifida and polio

Treatments for spinal cord injuries

Unfortunately, damage to the spinal cord is irreversible. Researchers are continually working on new treatments, including prostheses and medications, that might promote nerve cell regeneration or improve the function of the nerves that remain after a spinal cord injury.

In the meantime, the treatments available for spinal cord injuries are focused on preventing further damages and empowering people with a spinal cord injury to return to an active and productive life. Rehabilitation and adaptive devices can help a person gain more independence and improve their quality of life.

Find out how you can improve your spine health with our Neurology medical experts at Regency Specialist Hospital.

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