A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the tight bundle of cells and nerves that sends and receives signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body. The spinal cord extends from the lower part of the brain down through the lower back.
SCI can be as a result of direct injury to the spinal cord itself or from damage to the tissue and bones (vertebrae) that surround the spinal cord. This damage can cause temporary or permanent changes in sensation, movement, strength, and body functions below the site of injury.
Types of spinal cord injury
A spinal cord injury can be classified into two: complete or incomplete.
- An incomplete injury means the spinal cord is still able to transmit some messages to or from the brain. People with incomplete injuries retain some sensory function and may have some control of muscle activity below the injury site.
- A complete injury means that there is no nerve communication below the injury site; sensory and motor function below this site is not functional
Primary damage is immediate and is as a result of the injury directly. Secondary damage results from inflammation and swelling that can press on the spinal cord and vertebrae, as well as from changes in the activity of cells and cells death.
Spinal cord injuries can result from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.
A traumatic spinal cord injury can stem from a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae.
Additional damage usually occurs over days or weeks because of bleeding, swelling, inflammation and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord.
A nontraumatic spinal cord injury can be as result ofy arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections or disk degeneration of the spine.
Damage of spinal cord injury to nerve fibers
Whether the cause is traumatic or nontraumatic, the damage affects the nerve fibers passing through the injured area and can impair part of or all the muscles and nerves below the injury site.
A chest (thoracic) or lower back (lumbar) injury can affect your torso, legs, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function. A neck (cervical) injury affects the same areas in addition to affecting movements of your arms and, possibly, your ability to breathe.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries
- Motor vehicle accidents. Auto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for almost half of new spinal cord injuries each year.
- Falls. A spinal cord injury after age 65 can be because of a fall.
- Acts of violence. About 12% of spinal cord injuries result from violent encounters, usually from gunshot wounds. Knife wounds also are common.
- Sports and recreation injuries. Athletic activities, such as impact sports and diving in shallow water, cause about 10% of spinal cord injuries.
- Diseases. Cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and inflammation of the spinal cord also can cause spinal cord injuries.
Physiotherapy Treatment Of Spinal Cord Injury
This type of traditional therapy involves a lot of hands-on therapy,exercise and stretching maneuvers to facilitate movement. The goal is to help a patient manage pain, improve circulation, prevent or reduce muscle atrophy, contractures, and weakness, and improve their overall health and wellness. This helps to retrain your brain and body in an attempt to regain some or all lost mobility.
Some techniques, we use in physiotherapy treatment include:
- Muscle stretching
- Joint manipulation,
- Neurodynamic exercises.
- Place heavy towels on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck to prevent them from moving until emergency care arrives
We can help with this condition at Effective Physiotherapy and Fitness Clinic. Book an appointment when you have any form of sprain, strain or dislocation. Call +234 811 885 6060 or +234 909 860 4470