Spinal cord injuries are catastrophic and can significantly impact the lives of Georgia residents. If you have suffered trauma to your spine, you should recognize the warning signs and know when to seek treatment.
Types of spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be either complete or incomplete, leaving you with partial or no motor function. It’s possible to be left paraplegic with no function below the waist or quadriplegic with a lack of function below the neck. This depends on the area of the spine that suffers damage.
Signs and symptoms that you should seek medical treatment
If you are involved in a car accident, serious fall or even a sports accident, it’s wise to seek medical care just to be safe. In some cases, it’s possible to sustain an injury and not immediately be aware of it. With a spinal cord injury, there are certain signs and symptoms that you are in an emergency situation and should immediately seek medical attention. Difficulty breathing is one of the most urgent. Severe pain in your head, neck or back are other warning signs.
Numbness, tingling and weakness in your extremities, incoordination, loss of sensation and paralysis are serious symptoms that require medical care. The same is true for a sudden change in your ability to control your bladder or bowels.
Diagnosis and treatment
When you seek treatment, the doctor will check your vital signs first. They will then check for movement and sensory function and ask questions about your accident. If you’re unconscious, they can perform tests such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs to determine if your spinal cord has suffered damage.
Spinal cord injuries cannot be reversed, but there are treatments that might help. Medication, prostheses and physical therapy are among the options. Doctors also aim to prevent injuries from worsening.
Even if you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s possible to live a full, productive life.