Back to Back: 4 Common Spinal Injuries and How to Cope
When a person experiences a spinal cord injury, their life can be forever changed. Recovering from such an injury will take time. Some individuals are able to heal, and others are permanently paralyzed.
Common Spinal Injuries
Most individuals experience a spinal cord injury from being in a vehicle crash, falling, being assaulted or an injury related to playing sports. The most common spinal cord injuries are fractures, complete dislocation of adjacent vertebrae, partial misalignment of an adjacent vertebrae or a loosened connective tissue between the vertebrae.
When a person has an injury to their spine, they will often feel pain in the area of their back or neck that has been affected. The area could be very sensitive to touch. This will be especially true if a fracture has occurred. Should a person have damage to their spinal cord, their nerves at the injury site will begin to no work properly. This could cause them to experience a loss of muscle control as well as a loss of sensation.
Temporary Or Permanent
When a person has nerve damage, their loss of muscle control or loss of sensation could be temporary or permanent. It could also be partial situation or total. This is determined by the seriousness of the injury. When a person experiences an injury that cuts the spinal cord or damages the nerve pathways in their spinal cord, the result is a permanent loss. If the injury is caused by blunt force trauma, the spinal cord could have been shocked, and the resulting loss could be temporary.
If you have experienced a back injury, whether it was sustained in a collision or a slip and fall accident, you should consider seeing your doctor to see if any serious damage has occurred. Any impact on the vertebrae or trauma to the back can damage the spinal cord. The seriousness of an injury will be determined with an X-ray, but these sometimes do not provide enough detail. Computed tomography (CT) is the most accurate test to determine spinal injuries and their level of severity.
When a person has a spinal injury, they may be treated by using physical or occupational therapy or both. Individuals going through this type of rehabilitation will need emotional support and often counseling. In some cases, patients are prescribed antidepressants. This is because depression often occurs when individuals have injuries resulting in a permanent disability.
Spinal injuries, while sometimes severe, can usually be handled with physical therapy and proper medical attention. Those who have suffered these types of injuries have options—with education and access to adequate care, the coping process can be made much easier.