Spinal Cord Trauma

Spinal cord trauma can be caused by various reasons. It may be caused by an accident from motorcycle or falling down. Spinal cord trauma can be caused directly or it may also be caused due to injury on surrounding bones, soft tissues etc. Even a minor accident can cause spinal cord trauma, if the cord is weak. The main symptom of spinal cord trauma is sudden loss of sensation.

Spinal cord plays a key role in the body. Together with the brain, the spinal cord constitutes the central nervous system of the body. Spinal cord is about 18 inches long; it stretches from the base of the brain about to the waist. It contains the nerves that convey messages from the brain to the spinal nerves along the spinal tract and back again. The nerves that branch off the spinal cord exit and enter at each vertebra, traveling to other parts of the body. A spinal cord trauma affects every area of the body from the point of injury down.

Thus when there is spinal cord trauma, whole body has to suffer. Spinal cord is the extension of the nervous system. It may be caused due to falling on the neck or back. The spinal cord carries orders from the brain to the part of the body that will carry them out. An order to scratch an itch, tap a foot or cross a knee all travel along the spinal chord. Messages that travel to the brain include the sensations felt in every part of the body. That itch, the tickle the cold of a draft all travel from the various parts of the body to the cord and up to the brain.

When a spinal cord trauma occurs, this injury is very risky. Also, the back or neck can be seriously injured. It is separate from the skeletal system and is part of the neurological system. When a spinal cord trauma results in a complete injury, there will be no function below the level of the injury. Complete injuries always affect both sides of the body equally. It may also lead to paralysis.

All voluntary movement and physical sensation become impossible below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury is anything less than that. There may be sensation but no movement, one side of the body may be more affected than the other or the sensation may be more present on one side than the other.

The location of the injury caused by the spinal cord trauma is important. The vertebra that is closest to the injury describes the location. Overall, the spine is divided into four main regions describing the parts of the body that are affected by the nerves at that level. The cervical region is at the top of the spine nearest the neck.

A cervical spinal cord trauma can result in complete paralysis. Above the third vertebra, a complete injury will result in diaphragm failure and require a ventilator to breathe. The thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions affect parts of the body respectively lower. While science is optimistic about future treatment for spinal cord trauma injuries, there is no way to heal them today. There may be loss of sensation and mobility. There may be partial injury or total injury and as the case may be may lead to partial immobility or complete one.

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