Running from the neck to the lower back, the spinal cord is an extension of the brain. It is made up of millions of nerve fibres that send information to and from the body’s trunk, limbs, and organs. If you apply pressure to the spinal cord or disrupt the cord’s oxygen or blood supply, the result is a spinal cord injury. There are two main types of spinal cord injury: quadriplegia and paraplegia.
Quadriplegia is a neck injury in which the upper and lower portions of the body, including arms, hands, trunk, and legs, become paralysed. Paraplegia is an injury to the back that causes paralysis of the lower portion of the body, including the legs and, in certain cases, some or all the trunk. The damage sustained by the spinal cord in either injury may be complete or incomplete. People with incomplete injuries may maintain some movement and sensation; those with complete injuries experience a total loss of both (permanent paralysis).
What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
Most spinal cord injuries happen via a traumatic accident. Of these, most injuries are sustained during incidents related to motor vehicles. Falling is another common cause of spinal cord injuries, especially among older individuals. Most other spinal cord injuries are the result of water activities such as diving or surfing or other leisure activities such as horseback riding and strenuous sports. Some spinal cord injuries are non-traumatic, meaning that the person has a medical condition (such as a vascular disorder or spinal degeneration) that causes injury to the spinal cord.
Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury can have effects beyond loss of limb sensation and function. Other areas of the body may be affected as well. A person who has sustained a spinal cord injury may experience problems with breathing, bladder control, bone strength and density, pain, sexuality, skin, or spasticity, depending on the severity and type of injury. They may have trouble regulating body temperature in response to heat or cold as well. A spinal surgeon in Coffs Harbour can often repair the injury and allow the patient to return to normal activities or significantly improve the symptoms of the injury.
Spinal surgeons in Coffs Harbour can perform surgery immediately after an injury. Urgent intervention tends to be more common in patients whose injuries are incomplete, or if neurologic dysfunction worsens. Spinal surgeons can also help you make informed decisions about your care based on a variety of factors, such as spinal stability and the extent of your injury.
When looking for a spinal surgeon, consider Cochrane Neurosurgery & Spine in Southport. Dr. Neil Cochrane focuses on what’s best for each patient and takes the time to ensure to educate and inform his patients and ensure they are comfortable with the decisions involving their care. Dr. Cochrane can assess and diagnose your condition and then recommend surgical and non-surgical solutions as appropriate. You can feel confident that you’re in good hands when you choose Dr. Cochrane for the care of your spinal cord injury or other brain, spine, or nerve disorders.
Dr Neil Cochrane
Cochrane Neurosurgery and Spine
|Phone:||07 5531 3600|
|Fax:||07 5531 3636|
|Address:||Ground Floor, 34 High Street, Southport 4215|