Spinal cord injuries can have a significant impact on your life. Injuries to your spine can result in permanent disabilities, including complete loss of motor function and paralysis.
The spinal cord acts as an information superhighway connecting the brain to the body. The vertebrae contain a multitude of nerves and vital tissues that connect your upper and lower body. These bones help protect the very delicate structures inside. But when the bones, tissues or nerves sustain an injury, information can no longer travel to and from the brain. This interruption can cause loss of bodily sensation and motor function below the injury site.
It is possible to get a spinal cord injury and not know it right away. A relatively minor accident might not seem like a big deal at the time. But there are specific signs to look for:
- Trouble walking
- Difficulty moving legs or arms
- Tingling feeling or numbness in extremities
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Pain and pressure in neck or back
Spinal cord injuries are more common than you might think. Research from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that nearly 300,000 Americans are living with a spinal cord injury today. 78% of all new spinal injuries in 2018 are male. This prevalence may be due to the higher number of males in physically dangerous jobs like mining and manufacturing.
Some spinal cord injuries are severe and immediate. Others may not be so obvious. If you feel you may have a spinal cord injury, seek medical attention immediately. The longer you wait, the more severe the damage could become.