Spinal Cord Overview
The Spinal cord is the information highway of the body. The information or messages are sent back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. The brain and the spinal cord together make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord also supports the entire human body.
When the spinal cord is severed or damaged, this will cause substantial havoc to the individual. The spinal cord can be damaged in many ways; compression, infection, and disease or blood loss. These instances can alter nerve function and cause complete paralysis.
Spinal disease is any deviation which affects the spinal column or the spinal cord and the nerves therein. Spinal diseases is considered a vast area of study due to a large number of diseases and illnesses that may affect the spinal system ranging from skeletal disorders to nervous system disorders. All kinds of spine disease can be presented with either or both spinal symptoms or neurological signs resulting in compression or injury of the spinal cord or its nerves.
Spinal Diseases: Symptoms and Treatments
Some examples of spinal diseases are as follows:
• Traumatic spine disease – It refers to any disease of the spine which happens as the result of a traumatic injury such as vehicle accident or a fall. It may include traumatic disc herniation, spinal fractures and spinal unstableness. To evaluate the severity of the damage or fracture, CT scan or MRI scan it needed.
Its treatment may include supportive management, immobilization; may use braces or collars, surgical decompression, etc.
• Spinal Dysraphisms – These are abnormalities in the spinal cord resulting in an abnormal development of the spinal cord.
• Spinal Tumours – These are tumours that begin in the spinal cord. The symptoms may vary depending on the category and location of the tumour.
If the spinal cord itself has tumour it can cause dysfunction in the nervous system. If it affects the nerves of the spine it may cause muscle weakness or paralysis.
Patients with spine tumour may require surgery to either remove the lump or to do biopsy to test the severity of the tumour.
• Degenerative spine disease – The term for any pathology of spine that happens over time because of normal aging and wear and tear of the spinal column.
Pain, both in the back or neck and in the arms or legs is the usual sign of this spine disease. Neurological symptoms may also occur such as numbness, tingling, pain, etc. This can also cause motor symptoms like weakness or paralysis, abnormal reflexes, etc.
Treatment for degenerative spinal diseases varies depending on the specifics. Some patients take advantage of conservative therapy others from spine injections.
Coping with Spinal Diseases
Suddenly having a disability due to an accident can be frightening and sometimes confusing. Spinal injury one of the most common spinal disease that results in paralysis is a life-changing event in one’s life. This type of injury will definitely affect the individual’s relationships, everyday activities, and long term happiness.
Recovery may take time. Sometimes one suffers from this condition in his life time. When this happens, the patient and the patient’s family will likely experience a period of grief. It’s common to experience denial or disbelief, followed by sadness and anger. Seeking help from the professionals and other support groups can help ease the emotional burden caused by this life changing event.
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