The most common cause of spinal cord injury is trauma with nearly half of the injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents. Other types of trauma include falls, violence and sports injuries. Spinal cord injury can occur when the cord is compressed by a tumor or inflammation. Injuries to the spinal cord can cause weakness or complete loss of muscle function, loss of sensation in the body below the level of injury, and/or loss of control of the bowels and bladder. In the neck, a spinal cord injury may cause difficulty breathing.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Options
The most important consideration when moving people to a hospital or trauma center is preventing further injury to the spine and spinal cord. Spinal cord injury isn’t always apparent. Any injury that involves the head, pelvic fractures, invasive injuries in the area of the spine, or injuries that result from falling from heights should be suspect for spinal cord damage.
Until imaging of the spine is done at an emergency or trauma center, people who might have spinal cord injury should be cared for as if any significant movement of the spine could cause further damage. They can be transported in a recumbent (lying down) position, with a rigid collar and backboard immobilizing the spine. Respiratory complications can also be an indication of the severity of spinal cord injury. Many people with injury to the neck area will need help with breathing via intubation. A patient’s condition can be best managed at a designated spine trauma center.
Minnesota Spinal Surgeons
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, complete the ‘Request an Appointment’ section on this page, or contact us at 1.800.353.7720 to schedule a complete evaluation of your condition. Our team of Minnesota spine and brain specialists will examine your condition and discuss treatment options with you so you can make an informed decision about your care.