Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Damage to the Spine

A spinal cord injury refers to any damage to the spinal cord caused by trauma rather than disease. These spinal injuries may be caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries or violence. The symptoms of spinal cord injury can vary greatly and include pain, paralysis and incontinence, depending on where in the spine the traumatic spinal cord injury occurs, the nerves involved, and extent of the damage. Severity is typically classified by varying levels of “incomplete” to “complete” spinal cord damage. A complete spinal cord injury signifies a total loss of function of the affected nerves, and the movement and sensations the nerves normally control below the point of the trauma. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, some or most function is retained, depending on the extent of the damage.

Assessing Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spinal cord are also classified by their location along the spine, either by the specific vertebrae involved, or the region on the spine, such as a lumbar spinal cord injury (in the lower back) or thoracic injury (involving the mid-spine). A complete spinal cord injury in the cervical, or neck region, can result in full paralysis of all four limbs. Management of spinal cord injury is largely dictated by the extent of the trauma. With physical therapy, individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury usually regain some function over time. Spinal surgery may also provide improvement in some cases. If the spinal injury is complete, damage is typically irreversible. Minimally invasive spinal surgery methods performed on an outpatient basis, including laser spinal surgery and endoscopic surgery, can now be used for treating some spinal cord injuries. New Jersey Spine Specialists offers a complete range of treatments for spinal cord injuries and other spinal problems at our offices in Summit and Montclair. We serve patients from Warren, Union, Westfield, Watchung, and throughout the northern New Jersey region. If you’re seeking effective, advanced solutions for any spinal problem from a team of nationally recognized orthopedic surgeons, call or email us today to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified physicians near you.

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