Nearly 17,500 spinal cord injuries are reported in the United States each year. Ranging from mild to serious in nature, these injuries can leave both those injured and those close to them reeling from the consequences of the injury. While spinal cord injuries do happen fairly regularly, many find themselves without the basic knowledge needed to understand the anatomy of the spinal cord—much less the necessary information regarding spinal cord injuries. If you’re dealing with a spinal injury, there’s a lot to know. From consulting with an orthopedic spine surgeon in Suffolk County, NY to understanding the different injury classifications, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Different Types of Injuries
When a spinal injury occurs, it will be divided in to one of two broad categories. Incomplete spinal cord injuries are the most common. In fact, they account for nearly 70 percent of all spinal cord injuries that have occurred since 2010. Incomplete injures are classified by an only partially severed spinal cord. Those with this type of injury are still able to retain some function of their extremities. The severity of the injury will determine the extent of their remaining function. A complete spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is completely severed. When this happens, the ability to function is completely eliminated. Though this may be the preliminary classification, it is possible for the injured party to regain some function through treatment and physical therapy.
Common Cord Injuries
Along with the different types of spinal cord injuries, there are specific diagnoses given depending on the specifics of the situation.
- Anterior cord syndrome is a term used to describe an injury that affects the front of the spinal cord. This sort of injury often impacts the sufferer’s sensitivity to pain, touch, and temperature.
- Central cord syndrome refers to an injury in which the center of the spinal cord is injured. In some cases, the loss of sensation is recovered, but rarely is it recovered in the arms.
- Posterior cord syndrome. This is an injury to the back of the spinal cord. Those who suffer from posterior cord syndrome are typically able to maintain muscle tone and movement.
- Brown-Sequard syndrome occurs when asymmetrical damage is caused to the spinal cord. The injured party may have movement and sensation on one side of the body but not on the other.
- Cauda equine lesion is a different type of spinal cord injury. While it doesn’t refer to any damage to the cord itself, those who suffer from an injury of this type lose sensation due to damage to the nerves between the first and second lumbar. Typically, complete movement isn’t lost, and, in some cases, nerve regeneration is possible.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury will vary depending on the person and the site of the incident. To learn more about the treatments available for spinal cord injuries, consult with an orthopedic spine specialist in Suffolk County, NY at Peconic Bay Medical Center. Set up an appointment today!