Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are costly. Not only are they costly in terms of life expectancy – the life expectancy of someone who has experienced a spinal cord injury can be significantly reduced – but also costly in terms of treatment, employment, marital status and even level of education. One estimate puts the cost of expenses due to a spinal cord injury anywhere from $359,783 to in excess of $1M annually. With more than 17,000 new cases of these types of injuries happening each year, treatment that is less invasive, more effective and brings greater hope to patients for recovery is being sought more than ever.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

To understand an injury to the spinal cord, you must first understand the spinal cord itself. A column of nerves protected by a sheet of myelin and secured by 31 butterfly-shaped vertebrae, the spinal cord has four designated regions: the cervical region, the thoracic region, the lumbar region and the sacral spine. Spinal cord injuries basically fall into one of two categories: incomplete or complete. As you might guess, a complete spinal cord injury is when the spinal cord is fully severed, while an incomplete spinal cord injury is when the spinal cord is partially severed. Incomplete spinal cord injuries are more common and now account for more than 60% of all spinal cord injuries. Within the broader categories of incomplete and complete spinal cord injuries, there are several types of injuries that affect different parts of the body and come with varying prognosis. For anyone who has suffered a spinal cord injury, the doctor will explain the intricacies of the individual injury.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

For nearly everyone, when a spinal cord injury occurs, the person knows it. However, there are some common symptoms across spinal cord injury types, which include: chronic pain, headaches, mood changes, loss of libido, nerve and muscle pain, bladder function problems, frequent infections and paralysis. In rare cases, a person may not know they have suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury. Perhaps the most well-known example of that is comedian Chris Kattan’s story. While performing a bit on the show that required him to fall backwards in a chair, he hit his head. The next months were filled with pain and headaches. Fast forward a couple years and Kattan found himself with a list of challenges from dependency on pain meds to a damaged career and an unwanted hiatus from Hollywood. Today, Chris says that he wishes he had spoken up when the injury happened. “Had I known how everything would end up I would have been better off saying something about it, as opposed to being quiet because I thought it would get in the way of work,” he said.

Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries

While Chris Kattan’s experience is a scary one it also serves as a necessary cautionary tale. For anyone who has experienced an injury that is causing pain, headaches, nerve or muscle problems or any of the other symptoms, get help immediately. The faster treatment begins is imperative to the prognosis of the patient and with spinal cord injuries, there is no time to waste. For patients seeking fast and effective treatment of spinal cord injuries, Chiropractic Neurology offers care that does not rely on drugs or surgeries. Experts in understanding the brain, spine and nervous system, your Chiropractic Neurologist can provide unique care and insight into spinal cord injury rehabilitation, sports injuries, chronic pain and many other neurological conditions, designed with your individual needs at the heart of the care plan.

If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury and would like to know more about how Chiropractic Neurology can help you, please contact the team at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology center today for a consultation.

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