New York Spine Institute Spine Services

Spinal chord injuries

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

The symptoms of a spinal cord injury can vary depending on the level of damage to your spinal cord and which area of the spine experiences the injury. Some effects of a spinal cord injury include:

Autonomic Symptoms

Autonomic symptoms affect involuntary processes and can result in:

  • Disruptions in body temperature
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Disruptions in blood pressure
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Disruptions in heart rate

Motor Symptoms

Motor symptoms are caused by disruptions in how motor signals travel from your brain to your muscles and can result in:

  • Weakness
  • Spasticity
  • Paralysis

Sensory Symptoms

Sensory symptoms can affect how your brain and body perceive the world around you, resulting in effects such as:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pain

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

The higher up the injury is, the more of the body is affected. Since there are four sections of the spine, there are four types of spinal injuries someone can experience. These injuries can be complete (no nerve communication occurs below the injury) or incomplete (some feeling, function and muscle control are retained).

  1. Cervical spinal cord injury: A cervical spinal cord injury affects the back of the head, neck and shoulders, diaphragm, and arms and hands.
  2. Thoracic spinal cord injury: If you experience a thoracic spinal cord injury, it could affect the chest muscles, some back muscles and your abdominal organs.
  3. Lumbar spinal cord injury: A lumbar spinal cord injury can result in dysfunction of the lower abdomen, back, buttocks and parts of the legs.
  4. Sacral spinal cord injury: Sacral spinal cord injuries disrupt the normal function of the thighs, external genital organs, anus, lower parts of the legs and feet.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Some of the many causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Acts of violence like a gunshot or knife wound
  • Sports or recreational activities
  • Diseases

How to Diagnose a Spinal Cord Injury

There are several ways to identify which section of the spine has experienced an injury:

  • X-rays: X-rays can reveal any misalignment or fracture of the spine, along with tumors.
  • CT scan: CT scans provide clearer pictures than X-rays and can form a series of cross-sectional images for a more in-depth look at your spinal bones. They can also identify narrowing of the spinal canal and bleeding.

Depending on your injury, your doctor may wait a few days to perform testing after the swelling has decreased. They may perform a scan or conduct physical exams, including testing your muscle strength or ability to feel sensations.

Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Options

Damage to the spinal cord is often permanent. However, there are ways to prevent further injury and help people live productive lives.

In the early stages of treatment, the priority is minimizing the effects of the injury, which can include immobilizing the spine and maintaining the ability to breathe for some patients. Once your condition becomes stable, you will move into pain management and rehabilitation, which can help you regain muscle function and redevelop fine motor skills.

Why Choose NYSI for Your Spinal Cord Injury Treatment?

If you’re looking for comprehensive care to aid spinal cord injury treatment, NYSI is proud to be a top option for many patients in the tri-state area. Our priority is to help you regain mobility and reduce your pain levels so you can return to your quality of life. We have years of experience helping patients recover from neck and back injuries, and we will work with you to develop a treatment plan meeting your specific needs.

Contact Us for an Expert Consultation

Regain control of your life with help from the specialists at NYSI. Find a location near you and schedule an appointment online to learn more about our effective treatments for spinal injuries.