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A spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord. It’s an extremely serious type of physical trauma that’s likely to have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life.
The spinal cord is responsible for sending messages from the brain to all parts of the body. It also sends messages from the body to the brain. We are able to perceive pain and move our limbs because of messages sent through the spinal cord.
If the spinal cord sustains an injury, some or all of these impulses may not be able to ‘get through’. The result is a complete or total loss of sensation and mobility below the injury. A spinal cord injury closer to the neck will typically cause paralysis throughout a larger part of the body than one in the lower back area.
A spinal cord injury is often the result of an unpredictable accident or violent event. The following can all result in damage to the spinal cord:
- a violent attack such as a stabbing or a gunshot
- diving into water that’s too shallow and hitting the bottom
- trauma during a car accident (specifically trauma to the face, head and neck region, back, or chest area)
- falling from a significant height
- head or spinal injuries during sporting events
- electrical accidents
- severe twisting of the middle portion of the torso
Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- problems walking
- loss of control of the bladder or bowels
- inability to move the arms or legs
- feelings of spreading numbness or tingling in the extremities
- pain, pressure, stiffness in the back or neck area
- signs of shock
- unnatural positioning of the head
If you suspect that someone has a back or neck injury:
- Don’t move the injured person – permanent paralysis and other serious complications may result
- Call 911 or your local emergency medical assistance number
- Keep the person still
- Place heavy towels on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck to prevent them from moving until emergency care arrives
- Provide basic first aid, such as stopping any bleeding and making the person comfortable, without moving the head or neck
Treatment should be focused upon that individual and tailored specifically to their condition. A treatment programme is formulated following a thorough physical assessment which might include:
- Stretching activities to maintain muscle and tendon length and reduce or keep muscle spasms/spasticity to a minimum.
- Flexibility and strengthening exercises for the whole body.
- Breathing exercises to maximise lung function and prevent chest infection.
- Balance and posture exercises which can help to reduce pain associated with poor posture and balance impairment and ensure correct transfer techniques (in/out of wheelchair, bed, toilet/bath, car etc.)
- Functional activities to improve fundamental movement patterns such as rolling over and sitting up, and standing where appropriate.
- Walking re-education, if there is sufficient muscle activity and power in the legs.
Your physiotherapist might also be able to advise an individual on use of appropriate equipment such as wheel-chairs and pressure releasing cushions, exercise equipment and electrical muscle stimulators.
Because spinal cord injuries are often due to unpredictable events, the best you can do is reduce your risk.
Some risk-reducing measures include:
- Always wearing a seatbelt while in a car
- Wearing proper protective gear while playing sports
- Never diving into water unless you’ve examined it first to make sure it’s deep enough and free of rocks
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I am having slip disc. I want to know to cure it with exercises and what are the precautions to took for this?
The symptoms caused due to herniated disc can be very severe and can also cause a bit of disability. The disc of the spine is like a cushion and separates the set of bones on the backside. The discs are shock absorbers of the spine and are mainly composed of 2 parts, a soft jelly centre called the nucleus and a tough outer covering called the annulus.
Effects of Herniated Disk
A herniated or cracked disc is a severe condition and it seems to happen most commonly in the lower back. It happens when a fraction of the soft centre gets pushed through the destabilized area due to degeneration, trauma or by putting pressure on the spinal cord.
Nerves are located precisely at the back of every disc and are responsible for controlling everything in our body. While a disc gets herniated, the external covering of the disc tears and creates a bulge. The soft jelly gets shifted from the centre of the disk to the region where the damage has occurred on the disc. Most commonly, the bulge occurs in areas where the nerve is located and it causes strain on the affected nerve. It has been observed that individuals do not feel any painful sensations even if their disc gets damaged.
When is Surgery Recommended for Herniated Disc?
Surgery for herniated disc is recommended only after options like steroid injections, pain relievers, exercise and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs do not work. If the pain persists even after these options, then it becomes important to go for surgery. There are certain risks involved in this surgery like infection, bleeding or nerve damage.
There are chances that the disc may get ruptured again if it is not removed. If you are a patient suffering from degenerative disc disease, then there are chances that problem occurs in other discs. It is very important that a patient maintains healthy weight to prevent any further complications.
The main factor that increases the risk of herniated disc is excess body weight, which causes a lot of stress on the lower back. A few people become heir to a tendency of developing this condition. Even individuals with physically demanding jobs are prone to this condition.
Activities like bending sideways, pushing, twisting, repetitive lifting can increase the risk of a herniated disk. At times, emergency surgery is also required to avoid paralysis in a patient. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I am a 25 years old male, I have been suffering from bulging disk at l5-s1. I have been resting for 2 months, now my neck has started paining too and left pelvic joint is making popping sound everytime it is bend. So I got my blood acid checked. And its been 8 for last two months, I have been drinking like 6 lts water everyday. Is uric acid main reason of pain? And how can I get it down as I don't want to start the medicine so early in life and drinking water is not working. Please suggest, my career is suffering a lot.
Does Knuckle breaking at neck at regular intervals when I'm feel stressed, will that leads to an disk injury or any problems in future. Usually I keep doing that when I work out in gym.
My MRI report of LS Spine is as: Diffuse Disc bulge at L3 /L4 indenting the thecal sac Partial desiccation of L4 / L5 with diffuse posterior disc bulge Indenting the thecal sac encroaching bilateral neural foramina (left>right) Partial desiccation of L5 / S1 Please tell. Me the seriousness of the problem with precautions Is this normal.
Blockage in heart is a common term used for narrowing of coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are vessels, which supply blood and thus oxygen and food to continuously working heart muscles. Heart muscles, which are not tired working from the birth till death, however, cannot sustain long without blood supply.
A reduction in blood supply gives rise to ischemia of heart muscles commonly manifested as chest discomfort or angina. A sudden complete shutdown of blood supply leads to heart attack leading to permanent damage to heart (if blood flow not reestablished promptly).
But what causes these arteries to block? Sedentry lifestyle is the most primary reason of these blockages. Cigarette smoke increases the rate of atherosclerosis in the arteries of the heart, legs, and the aorta -- the largest artery in the body. Also, there is an increase in the risk of heart attack if a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) has had a heart attack or stroke. That is mainly seen when the relative has had a heart attack before the age of 45 if they are male, 55 if they are female.
High levels of ''bad'' cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), are also the major contributors to arterial plaque formation. Having high blood pressure also increases the rate at which arterial plaque builds up. It also hastens the hardening of clogged arteries. LDL a normal component of blood (upto certain limit) starts depositing in arteries as early as 10 years of age!
Deposition of billions of LDL molecules over several years on inner surface of arteries gives rise to visible narrowings in these arteries. Flow ahead of these narrowings is reduced in proportion to the narrowing. At a level of 70 % narrowing the flow is reduced to give ischemia (and angina) during exercise. Gradually increasing degree of narrowing reduces the exercise needed for ischemia and angina; a narrowing of more than 90 % can give symptoms at rest. A sudden clot formation at any of these stages can block the flow suddenly giving a heart attack.
If LDL is a normal component of blood, why it is deposited in the arteries at first place?
LDL above a certain limit in blood starts depositing in the arteries. Diabetes, Hypertension, smoking, less exercise and genetics makes it more sticky thus making narrowing faster. This is why these risk elements need to be properly attended for prevention from heart disease. For treatment medicines are important for stopping the progression of narrowings; angioplasty is a method of fast resolution of blockage; and bypass surgery is the method of creating a whole new blood supply for the affected part of the heart. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.
I am suffering from l5-s6 disc prolapse from a year. Not undergone surgery. Little weight lift becomes problem in next morning. Is there a permanent solution for my problem. Thanks in advance.
Q1. What exactly is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is an alternative to 'Open' surgery wherein the abdomen is opened by tiny 'key hole' incisions and surgery is done. 'Scopy' means the use of an endoscope or telescope to see inside the abdomen. This is attached to a camera and a light source and the inside of the abdomen is projected on to a monitor. The surgeon performs surgery looking at this screen. The surgeon makes a total of 2-4 small cuts on the abdomen ranging from half to 1 cm through which the telescope and other thin surgical instruments are passed into the abdomen. When the uterus is removed , known as hysterectomy, there is also a cut at the top of the vagina where the uterus is attached.
Q2. What kind of gynaecological surgeries can be performed by Laparoscopy?
Most surgeries done in gynaecology can now be performed by Laparoscopy and do not require the large incision as for open surgery. Laparoscopy can be done sometimes only for diagnosis and is called Diagnostic Laparoscopy, as in checking whether the tubes are open or not and to look for any causes of infertility or pain outside the uterus. In women who are unable to conceive, Diagnostic Laparoscopy is often combined with Hysteroscopy (endoscope inside the uterus, inserted from below, via the vagina). When laparoscopy is done to perform some surgical procedure inside the abdomen it is called Operative Laparoscopy. This may be for simple procedures like sterilization, minor adhesions, drilling ovaries; or for intermediate or major reasons like fibroids, endometriosis, removal of ovaries or tubes or both or removal of uterus, for staging of cancers or radical surgeries for cancer. However, about 5% of all surgeries including those for cancer or very large tumours may benefit from open surgery.
Q3. Why does an expert surgeon recommend Laparoscopy over Open Surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery has many advantages above open surgery: the incisions are much smaller (open surgery incisions are 8-10 cms long), therefore pain is much less; requirement for pain killers (which can have side-effects like sleepiness, impaired judgement) is lesser; hospital stay is shorter; complications fewer; requirement for blood transfusions infrequent; recovery in terms of physical, emotional and mental state is much better and quicker; return to work is faster with consequent lesser loss of working and earning days. Surgery with laparoscope is more precise because it is magnified view. Further vision is much better because it's like having your eye behind the structure because you can see with the telescope at places where the surgeon's eye cannot reach.
Q4. If the cuts on the abdomen are so small in Laparoscopic surgery, how do you remove the uterus or a large tumour from inside the abdomen?
Quite often if the tumour is not malignant and contains fluid, it is punctured to collapse it into a smaller size. If it is solid, it can be cut into smaller pieces inside the abdomen using a special instrument. The collapsed or cut structures can be removed gently through the 1 cm cut on the abdomen which may be increased a bit if required. After hysterectomy, the uterus can be removed easily from below, through the vagina.
Q5. Will there be much pain or discomfort after Laparoscopic Surgery?
There may be some pain and discomfort in lower abdomen for one day to few days after Laparoscopic surgery but this is much less as compared to open surgery because the incisions on the abdomen are much smaller and there is much less tissue handling inside the abdomen by fine instruments instead of rough, big, gloved hands which can cause tissue injury in open surgery. There may be some pain in the shoulder following laparoscopy. This is not serious and is due to the gas used in the surgery to make space for instruments.
Q6. When can I be discharged from hospital?
Following Diagnostic Laparoscopy or with simple Operative Laparoscopy you can expect to be discharged from hospital latest by the morning after surgery. In most other cases of intermediate or even major surgery, discharge is generally 1-2 days following the surgery unless there is some health issues prior to the surgery or any complication during the surgery. The complication rates for Laparoscopic surgery are not more than for open surgery and depend upon patient factors like anaemia, diabetes, obesity and skill of the surgeon.
Q7. When can I perform routine household activities or return to work after Laparoscopic Surgery?
Recovery after surgery depends upon many factors: presence of health problems before surgery; why the surgery is required; what surgery is being done; problems or complications of surgery, anaesthesia or blood transfusions. If all is well, one can perform routine household activities by 1 week, provided one doesn't feel tired. Although there may not be any harm, it may be unwise to be normally active within 48 hours of procedure. Following Diagnostic Laparoscopy or Operative Laparoscopy for simple procedures, one can return to work in 1 week. For other procedures, a 2-3 week off from work is reasonable. It depends on the type of work you are returning to. Avoid too rapid return to work if it is manually hard or requires standing for long durations of time. Sometimes a surgical procedure brings on a well needed rest and break from a lifetime of work. Mostly, when you return to work depends upon your own body and its signals of tiredness. You need to listen to those signals.