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Spinal Cord Injuries: What Are Their Effects On The Body?

Spinal cord injury (SCI) results when the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column get damaged due to a sudden blow to the spine that can cause one or more vertebrae to dislocate, fracture, crush, or compress.

Incidents that may cause spinal cord injury include car crashes, falls, violence, including gunshot wounds, sports-related accidents, and some others. 

What happens when your spinal cord is injured? What are its effects on the human body? The function of the spinal cord is to send messages from the brain to almost every part of the body. The spinal cord is a complex bundle of nerves connecting the brain and body. It travels in a canal at the bones of the back and neck, and damage to these bones can make you unable to move your muscles (paralysis), loss of sensation, as well as disruption to various bodily systems.

When it gets injured, it affects your motor skills, reflexes, sensations, sexuality, fertility, personality, and elimination processes such as urination and defecation.

Depending upon your spinal cord injury location, some internal functions may also change, such as breathing. There might also be a slow response of your immune system, irregular heart rhythm, chronic constipation, and others.

An SCI will significantly affect your life and the lives of those close to you.  Spinal cord injuries will also result in paralysis, depression, and anxiety, especially in the early days after the injury. Changes in your occupation, lack of sensation in your limbs, and alterations in your sexuality may precisely change your mood and personality.

The effect of the Spinal cord injury depends exactly on the location of the damage and how severe the injury is. Therefore, no two SCIs are the same. An SCI to the neck is identified as tetraplegia (or quadriplegia), affecting both legs and arms. An injury high in the neck can make you find it difficult to breathe or cough. If your injury is at the back, it results in paraplegia, affecting your torso and legs.

Currently, there is no cure for these challenges; however, there are several medical interventions that can make your life as an SCI survivor easier. For example,  physiotherapy  for spinal cord injury will help you face problems and issues that interfere with your quality of life and allow you to achieve your life’s goals.

The spinal cord injury physiotherapy treatment should start as early as possible or right after an injury. A physiotherapist will guide you through the processes, including exercises, so you can regain as much strength and flexibility as you should. Therefore, this is an effective way to optimise your mobility. These licensed professionals will be working closely with your family and caregivers.  The treatment specifics will be focused on your individual needs, depending on how mild or severe the SCI you have received.

A suspected spinal cord injury is considered a medical emergency. The patient needs to be transported with the utmost care by an ambulance to a hospital to minimize or prevent further damage to the spinal cord. Doctors formally diagnose SCI through X-rays, scans, and nervous system examinations.

When properly performed, physiotherapy will allow you to lead an entire, satisfying life, regardless of the severity of your injury. If you have a more severe injury, you will be helped to learn to push yourself in a wheelchair. You’ll also be able to move your paralysed body parts and be independent in a seated position. PT will help you learn to walk again if your injury is less severe. With some treatment options, such as gait training, seated mobility training, strength training, fitness training, etc., you can become successful in your fitness, strength, and mobility goals. 

If you want to learn more about spinal cord injury and physiotherapy, don’t hesitate to contact Mission Walk Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre. Our team of professionals will be willing to support people with SCI and their families, especially if you find it difficult to face the changes and challenges that accompany spinal cord injury.


So, we will be eagerly waiting for you to get in touch with our excellent and down-to-earth team of expert and skilled physiotherapists, who are pros in their respective fields and will help you. 

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