Causes of Spinal Nerve Injury and Its Impact on the Body

There are many factors that can lead to spinal cord injury, from trauma from accidents to falls from a height. The impact on the body also varies, depending on the location of the injury and its severity.

In the human body, there is a collection of soft nerve fibers that extend from the base of the brain to the lower back. This part is also called the spinal cord, and its position is protected by the spine.

The spinal cord serves to convey messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Because its function is to connect the brain and other parts of the body, injury to the spinal cord can result in impaired nerve and organ function.

Causes of Spinal Nerve Injury

Spinal cord injuries can be caused by direct and indirect injuries.

Direct injuries are usually caused by accidents or violent events that damage the spinal structures. Meanwhile, indirect injuries can be caused by diseases of the bones, tissues, or blood vessels around the spinal cord.

Some examples of accidents or violence that can cause spinal cord injury include:

1. Falling from a height
2. A motor vehicle accident that causes a collision to the face, neck, back, or chest
3. Injuries to the head or spine during sports
4. A stab or gunshot wound that hits the spine
5. Plunge into shallow water with your lower body hit first
6. Twist the midsection too tight or too hard
7. Got an electric shock

Symptoms of Spinal Nerve Injury

In general, there are several symptoms that may appear due to spinal cord injury, including:

1. Numbness or tingling
2. Difficulty controlling bowel movements or urination
3. Difficulty walking
4. Difficulty breathing due to weakness of the abdominal, diaphragm, and intercostal (ribs) muscles
5. Loss of ability to move the legs or arms (paralysis)
6. Headache
7. Fainted or unconscious
8. Shock
9. Unnatural head position
10. Pain, stiffness, or pressure in the neck, back, and limbs

Symptoms of spinal cord injury depend on where the spinal cord is affected.

Impact of Spinal Nerve Injury on the Body

Injury to the spinal cord is one type of physical injury that is very serious and the impact can be long-term.

Information from the brain to all parts of the body or vice versa will be disrupted if there is an injury to the spinal cord. This can cause a decrease in the body’s ability to move (motor) and feel (sensory), both in part and in all parts of the body.

The impact of spinal cord injury depends on the extent of the damage. In minor injuries, sensory and motor nerve disturbances may not have occurred. In severe injuries, nerve damage can occur which causes weakness, numbness, and paralysis in certain body parts.

For example, lower spinal cord injuries can affect sexual function and control of nerves and muscles to the bladder, intestines, and legs. While spinal cord injuries in the neck area can affect the respiratory muscles.

In fact, if the injury hits the upper part of the neck, the sufferer can have difficulty breathing, to the point of requiring a respirator.

Spinal Nerve Injury Treatment

If someone has an accident or violence that poses a risk of causing spinal cord injury, they must immediately seek medical attention at the hospital. Early treatment by a neurologist can reduce the risk of long-term complications and minimize the risk of death.

There are several steps taken by the medical team to treat spinal cord injury patients. Here’s the explanation:

Ensure the patient’s airway is safe

The initial treatment that is very important for doctors is to make sure the patient’s airway is safe and the patient can breathe on their own.

If there are signs of difficulty breathing, a respirator should be placed to ensure the patient can breathe maximally. In addition, doctors also need to stabilize vital signs and evaluate nerve damage that occurs in patients.

Administration of corticosteroids

Corticosteroid drugs, including dexamethasone and methylprednisolone, may be given by the doctor to the patient to relieve swelling of the nerves. Administration of corticosteroid drugs is carried out no later than 8 hours after spinal cord injury.

The act of surgery or nerve surgery

Neurosurgical procedures can also be an option to treat spinal cord injuries with the following goals:

1. Discharge of fluid, blood, or tissue pressing on the spinal cord
2. Straighten back the spine
3. Reunite a broken spine
4. Removing bone fragments or foreign objects found on the spine

Considerations for performing this operation need to be adjusted to the patient’s condition, as well as the severity of the degree of damage that occurs.

During the recovery process, the patient is advised to rest fully ( bed rest ). In addition, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation are needed to support the healing process and prevent further damage.

Until now there is no treatment that can completely cure spinal cord injuries. Therefore, the best preventive measure is to always be careful when driving and prioritize safety when working, especially for field workers.

If you experience complaints related to the spinal cord, immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment.

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