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Spinal cord injuries and diagnosing spinal cord fractures

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2021 | Firm News

Every year, residents of Georgia are among the thousands throughout the country who suffer spinal cord injuries. These are often debilitating, complex and even in some cases permanent. If you are diagnosed with a spinal fracture, it’s important to seek the right treatment.

What can cause a spinal fracture?

Spinal cord injuries, including fractures, are usually caused by trauma. The most common forms of trauma that can result in spinal cord fractures include motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries and acts of violence.

Other spinal fractures affect older people who have osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to become weaker and brittle. In the most extreme instances, even something as mundane as sneezing or coughing can lead to a spinal fracture.

What are the symptoms of spinal cord fractures?

Sometimes, you may be able to tell whether you might have sustained a spinal cord injury due to the symptoms you experience. In most cases, these injuries involve neck or back pain that worsens when you move around. Swelling is also very common.

If your fracture is due to osteoporosis, you can also experience loss of height if you become hunched. Loss of motion and even deformities or disabilities of the spine can develop. Other symptoms of spinal cord injuries include the following:

  • Pain that radiates down your arms or legs or both
  • Weakness in the arms or legs or both
  • Difficulty moving and walking
  • Bodily function problems, especially with your bladder or bowels
  • Paralysis

How are spinal fractures diagnosed?

Diagnoses can be made based on how spinal cord injuries occur. When there was no trauma involved in the injury, the doctor will perform a physical exam to find the source of the pain. There may also be neurological testing done to determine whether there is a problem with the spinal cord. Imagining tests like MRIs can also be done.

If trauma was involved in the injury, an assessment is made prior to more comprehensive exams at the hospital. Neurological testing is done to determine if the spinal cord was affected, followed by imaging exams such as X-rays or MRIs.