Any injury to the spinal cord should be taken seriously, and based on the extent of the injury, the treatment may be serious as well. At the Colorado Spine Institute (CSI) in Loveland, we’ve treated many patients who have suffered a spinal injury, and these injuries are often placed in two categories – traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic injuries obviously refer to those that occur abruptly, such as in a car accident or if someone slips and falls. Non-traumatic injuries are those caused by age or a medical condition. In this post, we’ll look at both categories and examine some of the causes.
Traumatic Spinal Injuries
We’ve written about traumatic spinal injuries before, and no matter where or how they occur, it’s important to see a spine specialist as soon as possible. Traumatic injuries can be caused by a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall, or during athletic competition. Any abrupt impact with the spine can cause damage, and if you’ve been in a car accident, fallen down violently, or been hurt while playing sports, it’s important to have your back examined by a certified medical provider. The damage may not be severe, but if left unchecked, could result in lasting effects that impact the rest of your life.
Non-Traumatic Spinal Injuries
Non-traumatic injuries are those that are caused by age, wear and tear, and/or medical conditions. Some forms of cancer can affect the spinal cord, as can degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc. Persistent pressure on spinal nerves can result in lasting damage, and a patient may lose feeling in their extremities because of a pinched nerve that’s brought on by a non-traumatic injury. These injuries and the damage they cause can take time to become apparent, and if you’re concerned about your risk of spinal problems, it’s best to schedule routine check-ups with a spine doctor.
Levels of Injury
For both traumatic and non-traumatic injuries, it’s important to understand the level of the injury. A “complete” spinal cord injury causes the patient to lose all feeling and function below the point of injury. Complete injuries can occur anywhere along the spine, and can seriously impact a patient’s life. An “incomplete” injury results in some feeling and function being retained, but in order to prevent further damage, it’s important for the patient to be immediately and perhaps regularly treated by a doctor.
Everyone knows that it’s important to wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a car, yet not everyone does. A majority of traumatic spinal cord injuries occur in motor vehicle accidents, and a seat belt could be the difference between a complete and incomplete injury. For non-traumatic injury prevention, a person can take the time to consider how they sit, stand, or sleep, and what external factors such as diet or exercise could be impacting their spine.
At CSI in Loveland, we want everyone to find the treatment they need for their spinal condition. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, or you’ve been in an accident and you need treatment, please make an appointment with us today.