What happens if spinal cord is damaged?

So, you want to know what happens if someone’s spinal cord is damaged? Well buckle up buttercup, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. The spine is a crucial part of our body that helps us walk, move and stay upright. It connects the brain with the rest of the body through nerves that run down its length from head to toe. Any damage to this critical structure can lead to dire consequences for one’s health.

First Things First – What Is A Spinal Cord?

Before we dive deep into what may happen when your spinal cord becomes impaired in several ways, let’s start by understanding precisely what it is. Your spinal column consists of small bones known as vertebrae stacked on top of each other from your skull down till your tailbone or coccyx (buttbone). They serve as a protective shield for the delicate spinal cord inside.

The spinal cord itself looks like a long thin tube made up of millions of interconnected nerve fibers passing signals between different parts of your body and brain. It forms an integral component in addition to other vital organs like heart and lungs being responsible for basic life support and neurological functions.

So How Can You Damage Your Spinal Cord?

Several factors could cause injuries that directly impact your CNS’s function (Central Nervous System), leading to neural dysfunctions and just expect everything stops working. Some common causes include:

  • Car accidents
  • Fights/Assaults
  • Falls from height
  • Sports-related injuries

Each type affects specific areas in distinct ways since there are typically two types – incomplete injury where functions decrease but do not completely stop or complete paraplegia where all messages coming above an area cannot pass below that region anymore resulting in complete loss control over essentially half-of-your-body (what fun!)

Let’s Consider Incomplete Injuries in More Detail

People with incomplete injuries often have multiple different symptoms over each other, which affects various parts of their body. These types of impairments are due to a spinal cord injury that only partially cuts off communication between the brain and specific areas below the injured section.

For example, someone who makes a wrong move while playing sports or forcefully removes themselves from seatbelts during an auto collision may experience what is known as spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spine resulting in chronic pain along the back/spine.

Another common symptom associated with incomplete injuries is spasticity – muscles become overly tight leading to uncontrollable movements . The mobility limitations can lead to partial paralysis impacting essential life skills like sleeping, walking and even addressing basic hygiene needs such as swallowing!

So What About Complete Paraplegia?

Complete paraplegia is when all signals above a particular section stop going through your spine below it. People living with this type of impairment typically experience:

  • Complete loss of control over legs
  • Constipation/Bladder problems
  • Lack bladder/bowel control
  • Sexual dysfunction (if not already apparent)

These might sound pretty awful but given time; most learn how to manage day-to-day tasks by relearning everything differently than before — thankful for adaptive equipment! That way they could be independent without having somebody elsewhere looking after them and if you don’t pay attention… “Sorry mate, I guess you’ll find out soon enough”😜

Common Symptoms Associated With Spinal Cord Injury

Injury severity generally depends on three factors: location within your spine (called segments), extent damages caused by fractures/other trauma applied locally-prerequisite based upon distance spans impacted – complete vs. incomplete cases previously mentioned). Some possible outcomes include:

Bladder And Bowel Problems

Problems with bladder/bowel function generally occur when the injury is high up within your spinal column. This area’s nervous system communicates with essential bodily functions, so any problems can become severe quickly!

Sexual Dysfunction

Depending on the severity and location of an incident, spinal cord injuries may lead to sexual dysfunction.

Autonomic dysreflexia

While technically classified under ‘bladder and bowels’ category- autonomic dysreflexia is its separate entity, occurring in specific cases where nerve signals are dysfunctional causing sudden headaches/high BP due to reflexes.

Let’s Talk About Nerve Pain

Spinal cord injuries have a significant impact on one’s quality of life; sometimes signified by nerve pain associated along your spine below affected areas as well as neuralgias shooting down arms or legs 🤕. Patients diagnosed still find numerous methods after experimenting various medication for chronic care-giving given they’ve now got all lifetime needs at once😥 !

Conclusion – What Have We Learned?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through the world of spinal cord injury! Remember always to take precautions when participating in dangerous activities that could cause damage resulting from losing part/full functionality significantly impacting basic life skills we rarely ponder upon 😬 Stay safe out there folks!

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