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Spinal Deformity Correction Tips

Things You Should Know About Spine Deformity

Dr. Vishal Nigam 88% (12 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics/Orthopedic Surgery, FNB - Spine Surgery
Orthopedist, Delhi
Things You Should Know About Spine Deformity

Spine deformity is a medical condition that refers to any type of abnormality in the shape, alignment, or formation of the vertebral column. The human spine, in its normal state, has a gentle curvature but when these curves become extreme or move out of place, it leads to deformities. Some deformities are mild in nature while some are serious. The former are not recognizable but the latter mark the personality of the individual and also cause physical problems. Spine deformity is also known as a misshapen spine or curvy spine and can affect anyone – child, adolescent, adult or old.

The signs and symptoms of spine deformity include low back pain, weakness, pain in legs or thighs, muscle spasms, breathing difficulty, uneven shoulders or hips or both, misalignment of the head, protruding shoulder blade, and poor gait.

  1. Scoliosis, Kyphosis, and Spondylolisthesis - Spinal deformity is mainly categorized into three conditions that commonly affects people: These spinal deformities include the following:
  2. Scoliosis – In this type of spinal deformity, the spine becomes curved from side to side forming an “S” or “C” shape. It mostly affects teenagers in their growing years but can also affect children and adults. It can be caused due to birth defects, genetic reasons, or neurological defects. It can be structural or nonstructural. The former is caused by disease, injury or birth defect and it is permanent in nature. The latter is temporary and can be treated with surgery.
  3. Kyphosis – Also known as a hunchback, kyphosis is a condition marked by excessive curvature in the upper part of the spine. This is a very visible condition and the person has a hump on their upper back. It can affect anyone and is generally known to result because of poor posture but an infection in the spine, injury, slipped disc, muscle weakness, arthritis, and aging can also trigger kyphosis.
  4. Spondylolisthesis – In this condition, a bone in the spine moves out of position, either forward or backward, causing a deformity in the spine. It is caused by aging, arthritis, or general degeneration caused by wear and tear.

Treatment: Spinal deformity, in most of the cases, is treatable if it is detected on time. In cases of kyphosis or where the patient is experiencing symptoms such as pain or other tangible signs, physical examination by an orthopedist is necessary. Upon further screening through an X-ray or MRI scan, the degree of deformity is determined and then the doctor starts treatment. Some cases can be treated through braces or physical therapy or exercise. They correct the abnormal curvature of the spine and the individual can get a normal curvature after the treatment but in some cases, surgery is the only option left as only surgical intervention can rectify the deformed curvature. The surgical techniques include spinal fusion and insertion of implants.

Prevention: Spinal deformity is painful as well as personality diminishing condition and hence, needs timely treatment but it can be prevented as well. For it to happen, causes such as poor posture, arthritis, and slip disc need to be addressed in time. One should be extra careful about pain in the back or legs and take immediate help from the doctor. Also, one should try to maintain a healthy weight and do regular exercise.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2387 people found this helpful

Forefoot Deformity - Know Everything About It!

Dr. T V Raja 88% (14 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedist, Chennai
Forefoot Deformity - Know Everything About It!

A problem in the foot often results in rheumatoid forefoot deformity. The symptoms of this problem include pain and deformities in the foot and ankle. The forefoot gets symmetrically affected and the first rays give rise to hallux valgus, which drives the deformity of the toes.

Types of Deformities-
There are multiple foot deformities that can occur as a result of rheumatoid arthritis:

  1. Hallux Valgus
  2. Bunion deformity with problem at the MTP joint (Metatarsophalangeal joints)
  3. Clawing of toes
  4. Dislocation of the lesser MTP joint
  5. Increased plantar pressure

Deformities and pain are usually detected by a physical examination by the physician and at times an x-ray can be suggested for the same as well.

Treatment

1. Non-Operative
The primary goal of non-operative treatment is to make the deformed foot feel comfortable. The extent of the deformity is first diagnosed and then this treatment can be suggested based on it. It basically consists of pain control, shoe modification and medical management techniques:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes to minimize the pain associated with the deformity
  • Custom made or store bought inserts to offload prominent area
  • Corn pads or paddings to protect bony prominence
  • Specific devices can be used to eradicate clawing of toes
  • Activity modification to manage pain better
  • Physical therapy or stretching to improve joint mobility

2. Operative
Operative treatments are sought when the condition of the deformities is serious and the patient suffers from remarkable pain:

  • Hallux Valgus is the most common form of foot deformity and can be managed with a surgery of arthroplasty, osteotomy or arthrodesis. Correction of the Hallux Valgus has good effects of controlling deformities and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Procedure to correct clawed toes based on its intensity
  • Bunion correction surgery for bunion deformities

Recovery Period
Each procedure has its own recovery period and in most cases, it can be limited to a range of 6 weeks to get back to normalcy. After 6 weeks, physical therapy may be suggested to increase activity gradually. To gain full mobility it might take around 3-6 months, depending on the patient’s age and condition. Relief is generally noticed by the 6th week, but to get back to full recovery it might take months.

Complications
Common surgical complications can be applicable to operative procedures. There can be a compromise to the blood supply to the tip of the toes, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, recurrence of deformity. Such complications are to be addressed by the physician to reconsider the right therapy

Treatments for forefoot deformities are to be performed after thorough diagnosis and investigation. Corrective measures are to be taken to prevent deformities. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2510 people found this helpful

Toe Deformity- What Causes It And What Are Its Treatment Options?

Dr. T V Raja 88% (14 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedist, Chennai
Toe Deformity- What Causes It And What Are Its Treatment Options?

Have you ever come across a person with usual toes, toes that are mysteriously curled or bend upwards, downwards or inwards? As strange and intriguing as it may appear, the condition can be quite painful and is known as toe deformity. In toe deformity, the foot bone is unusually and abnormally positioned, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Toe deformity in a person can be of different types. It can be:

  1. Hammer toe: This is one of the most commonly observed toe deformity. A hammer toe is characterized by the curling or bending down of the second toe at the proximal interphalangeal joint (the middle toe joint). The toe may further bend up at the distal interphalangeal joint (joint adjacent to the toe tip) or the metatarsophalangeal joint (meeting point of the foot and the toe) as well. In hammer toe, the awkward alignment results in a slight elevation in the joint of the middle toe. A hammer toe is often seen accompanied by a bunion (a bony bump or a deformity formed at the joint that links the foot with the big toe).
  2. Mallet toe: Mallet toe mostly affects the second toe (other toes may be affected). The deformity results in bending down of the toe at the distal interphalangeal joint (appears like a mallet).
  3. Claw toe: The deformity affects all the toes, with the big toe being an exception. Here, the toes bend up at the metatarsophalangeal joint and bend down at the distal interphalangeal joint. The deformity results in the toes curling down towards the floor (appears claw-like).

What causes Toe Deformity?
There can be many factors responsible for toe deformities.

  1. Toe deformity in a person may be congenital (present from birth).
  2. It can also be an outcome of medical conditions such as arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis), stroke, heart attack, diabetes, an injury, an accident, or wearing wrong footwear.
  3. Toe deformity can also be hereditary.

Signs and symptoms:
The symptoms for Toe Deformity (hammer toe, claw toe, and mallet toe) include

  1. There is redness, pain, and swelling in the affected part of the toe. In claw toe, however, there may or may not be pain associated with the condition.
  2. A person faces difficulties in straightening the toe.
  3. In hammer toe, corns, and calluses appear on the middle joint (top) of the affected toe.
  4. In mallet toe, ulcers may occur on the toe (in diabetic patients).

Treatment:
Initially, toe deformity appears flexible, where movement around the affected joint is possible. However, if left unattended, the condition can become severe and rigid, thereby restricting the movement (in the affected area). Treatment for toe deformity depends on how severe the condition is.

  1. In most cases, the treatment involves wearing custom-made shoes, fitted with supports (cushions or pads) and wider toe box.
  2. Using of tapes and splints may be helpful in correcting and repositioning the deformed toe.
  3. Patients with excruciating pain benefit immensely from cortisone injections.
  4. Corn pads can be used to deal with corns and calluses better.
  5. Toe stretching exercises are highly effective.

If severe cases or extreme rigidity, doctors may opt for surgical treatments like arthrodesis, tendon transfer, arthroplasty, to name a few. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.

2553 people found this helpful

Kyphoplasty Surgery For Spinal Fractures Caused By Osteoporosis!

Dr. Himanshu Gupta 89% (54 ratings)
Fellow Adult Knee Reconstruction and Sports Injuries, Fellowship in Interventional Pain Practice, MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Gurgaon
Kyphoplasty Surgery For Spinal Fractures Caused By Osteoporosis!

Since childhood, we are told time and again to stand tall, sit straight and maintain a good posture. We can do this only because of the spinal column. However, with age, the spinal column may be affected by osteoporosis. This is a muscular skeletal degenerative disease that reduces bone density. In the case of the spine, it can cause deformities, vertebral compression fractures and can even be fatal. Thankfully, these fractures can be treated with medication and surgical intervention.

  • Kyphoplasty is one of the surgical procedures commonly used to treat spinal osteoporosis fractures. This is a minimally-invasive surgery that aims at reducing pain, stabilizing the vertebrae and restoring the normal height of the spine. This surgery may be performed under local or general anesthesia. To begin the procedure, a small incision is made in the back. The doctor then places a narrow tube through this incision and uses fluoroscopy to place it correctly in the pedicle of the broken vertebrae. A balloon is then inserted through the tube and carefully inflated. As the balloon inflates, it elevates the vertebrae and returns the spine to a normal position. This balloon also creates a cavity inside the vertebra by compacting the soft inner bone. Once this cavity has been created, the balloon is deflated and removed. A cement-like material known as polymethylmethacrylate is then injected into the cavity to fill it up. This cement hardens quickly and stabilizes the spinal column. The procedure may then be repeated on the other side to correct deformities and ensure uniformity.
  • Hospitalization is not usually required for this procedure and the patient may go home on the same day. Most patients experience immediate pain relief while others may see the reduced pain within 2 days of the surgery. Kyphoplasty is considered to have the highest chances of success if it is performed within 6 weeks of sustaining the fracture. Heavy lifting and any form of strenuous exercising should be avoided for at least 6 weeks. Other than this, patients can return to their normal lifestyle. To prevent further bone loss, medication will be prescribed that should be taken regularly.
  • As with any surgery, there are a few risks to this procedure. This includes a reaction to anesthesia, infections, spinal cord compression or nerve injury and an allergic reaction to the balloon. However, the surgery has a high success rate and complications are rare.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2534 people found this helpful

Spinal Problems In Children!

Dr. Shilpa Chawla 84% (18 ratings)
BSc - Home Science, Diploma In Health & Nutrition, MSc - Dietitics/Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi
Spinal Problems In Children!

Neck and back problems are frequently observed in children. It should be thoroughly investigated to block any possible disorder related to the spine. Problems are generally detected by a specialist. Age plays a crucial factor here. Spine problems can be divided as per age of the kid. Some common disorders faced by the children of age bracket 1-2 are as follows:

  1. Spine problems among infants: Infants can face problems related to the spine due to poor feeding and irritation. One common problem among many new-born is the subluxation of the spinal vertebrae.
  2. The process of birth: Many times a fixation and misalignment of the of the upper cervices occurs during the process of traction, rotation and lateral fixation of normal birth. Even in C-section deliveries, the trauma of the birth process can result in spine related problem.
  3. Falls: Falls are a common cause of spinal problems in kids. Babies in the age group of 1-2 can experience a fall while trying to walk, rolling off the bed, negotiating with an obstacle etc. It is, therefore, safe to consult a doctor regularly to ensure the safety of the babies’ spine.

Congenital Anomalies:
Congenital anomalies are the result of neurological deficits or physical deformity. This can be detected by a doctor after a baby is born. Some of the common problems include the following:

  1. Malformation of the spinal cord- This is a condition where the spinal cord tethers. This is a condition where the spinal cord is not able to grow because of the thickening of the filum terminal.
  2. Spina bifida: This condition results from a condition where the closure of spinal laminae gets limited. This condition can result in symptoms such as paralysis, sensory changes etc. This condition can be easily identified by doctors. It presents with a tuft of hair over the spine.
  3. Klippel: Feil syndrome: Fusion of several vertebrae results in this condition. The flexibility of the neck gets severely restricted because of this disorder. A person with a disorder such as this presents symptoms such as low hairline, short neck and limited range of motion.
  4. Malignancy: A tumour in the spinal cord may present with symptoms such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and torticollis. This disease is widely detected within the first four years of a person’s life.
  5. Meningitis: This is a condition which is caused by a bacteria known as staph aureus. Some common symptoms include drowsiness, fever, vomiting drowsiness, tense anterior fontanel, an extension of the neck and head etc.
  6. Diskitis: This is an infection related to the intervertebral disk. It is mostly witnessed in young children along the lines of the lumbar spine. A kid with this condition may find it difficult to stand, back pain and mild fever at all times.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4700 people found this helpful

Spinal Bifida - Know The Signs That Indicate It!

MCh - Neurosurgery, MS-General Surgery, MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Delhi
Spinal Bifida - Know The Signs That Indicate It!

The medical term ‘spina bifida’ or spinal bifida refers to a congenital defect in the spine. In simpler terms, spina bifida is a defect in the neural tube. Based on the severity of this disease, spina bifida can be divided into three different types:

  • Myelomeningocele
  • Meningocele
  • Occulta

The symptoms of spina bifida vary depending on each of these three types. Let's take a closer look at its symptoms here:

Myelomeningocele

Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spina bifida. In this type of neural defect, spinal canal of the baby remains open in the middle or lower back along a few vertebrae. Due to this opening, a sac is formed at the back of the baby at birth, which exposes the baby to several life-threatening infections.

Some of the common symptoms of this type of spina bifida are:

  1. Seizures
  2. Presence of uneven hips
  3. Deformed feet
  4. Curved spine or scoliosis
  5. Bladder and bowel problems
  6. Muscle weakness
  7. Paralyzed leg muscles.

Physical deformities from moderate to severe levels are also very common in this type of spina bifida.

Meningocele

Meningocele is a ratherrare form of spinal bifida in which a sack of fluid stays in open at the back of the baby. Here the protective membranes that usually stay around the spinal cord push out through the vertebrae’s opening. Though this sack contains no part of the spinal cord, it may cause minor disabilities.

Some common symptoms of this kind of spina bifida are:

  1. Membranes forming a visible sack on the back at birth
  2. Presence of a small opening in the baby's back

The good news is that this sack can be removed through surgery without hampering the normal development of the spinal cord.

Occulta
Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form of spina bifida, which, in majority of the cases, often stays hidden as its symptoms are rarely visible. As it doesn’t even cause any form of disabilities, it generally goes unnoticed. It doesn’t cause any damages to the nerves or the spinal cord.

Some common symptoms of occulta are:

  1. Presence of a gap between the vertebrae
  2. An area on the back formed with extra fat
  3. Acluster or small group of hair on the back
  4. A dimple or birthmark on the back.

In this kind of spina bifida, neither any sack of fluid is formed, nor are there any visible opening in the back. Sometimes, people who have spina bifida are not aware of it due to its minimal symptoms.
Spina bifida usually affects a child before birth, when the brain or the cord or the protective covering over them fails to develop completely. Knowing about the symptoms can be one of the best ways to identify and diagnose this disease and opt for proper treatment solutions. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Neurosurgeon.

2556 people found this helpful

Know The Signs That Indicate Spinal Bifida!

Dr. Shailesh Jain 85% (13 ratings)
MBBS, MCh, MS
Neurosurgeon, Delhi
Know The Signs That Indicate Spinal Bifida!

The medical term ‘spina bifida’ or spinal bifida refers to a congenital defect in the spine. In simpler terms, spinal bifida is a defect in the neural tube. Based on the severity of this disease, spinal bifida can be divided into three different types:
• Myelomeningocele
• Meningocele
• Occulta

The symptoms of spinal bifida vary depending on each of these three types. Let's take a closer look at its symptoms here:

Myelomeningocele

Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spinal bifida. In this type of neural defect, the spinal canal of the baby remains open in the middle or lower back along a few vertebrae. Due to this opening, a sac is formed at the back of the baby at birth, which exposes the baby to several life-threatening infections.

Some of the common symptoms of this type of spinal bifida are:

  1. Seizures
  2. Presence of uneven hips
  3. Deformed feet
  4. Curved spine or scoliosis
  5. Bladder and bowel problems
  6. Muscle weakness
  7. Paralyzed leg muscles.

Physical deformities from moderate to severe levels are also very common in this type of spinal bifida.

Meningocele

Meningocele is a ratherrare form of spinal bifida in which a sack of fluid stays in open at the back of the baby. Here the protective membranes that usually stay around the spinal cord push out through the vertebrae’s opening. Though this sack contains no part of the spinal cord, it may cause minor disabilities.

Some common symptoms of this kind of spinal bifida are:
o Membranes forming a visible sack on the back at birth
o Presence of a small opening in the baby's back
The good news is that this sack can be removed through surgery without hampering the normal development of the spinal cord.

Occulta
Spina bifida occulta is the mildest form of spina bifida, which, in majority of the cases, often stays hidden as its symptoms are rarely visible. As it doesn’t even cause any form of disabilities, it generally goes unnoticed. It doesn’t cause any damages to the nerves or the spinal cord.
Some common symptoms of occulta are:

  1. Presence of a gap between the vertebrae
  2. An area on the back formed with extra fat
  3. Acluster or small group of hair on the back
  4. A dimple or birthmark on the back.

In this kind of spinal bifida, neither any sack of fluid is formed, nor are there any visible opening in the back. Sometimes, people who have spinal bifida are not aware of it due to its minimal symptoms.
Spinal bifida usually affects a child before birth, when the brain or the cord or the protective covering over them fails to develop completely. Knowing about the symptoms can be one of the best ways to identify and diagnose this disease and opt for proper treatment solutions.

 

2625 people found this helpful

Physiotherapy For Spinal Cord Injury

Dr. Anuradha Sharma 91% (16546 ratings)
MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Physiotherapy For Spinal Cord Injury

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.

Causes-

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

Symptoms -

Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  1. problems walking
  2. loss of control of the bladder or bowels
  3. inability to move the arms or legs
  4. feelings of spreading numbness or tingling in the extremities
  5. unconsciousness
  6. headache
  7. pain, pressure, stiffness in the back or neck area
  8. signs of shock
  9. 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

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:

  1. Stretching activities to maintain muscle and tendon length and reduce or keep muscle spasms/spasticity to a minimum.
  2. Flexibility and strengthening exercises for the whole body.
  3. Breathing exercises to maximise lung function and prevent chest infection.
  4. 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.)
  5. Functional activities to improve fundamental movement patterns such as rolling over and sitting up, and standing where appropriate.
  6. 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.

Prevention

Because spinal cord injuries are often due to unpredictable events, the best you can do is reduce your risk.

 Some risk-reducing measures include:

  1. Always wearing a seatbelt while in a car
  2. Wearing proper protective gear while playing sports
  3. Never diving into water unless you’ve examined it first to make sure it’s deep enough and free of rocks 

    If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a physiotherapist.

4414 people found this helpful

Spinal Compression Fracture - How It Can Be Treated?

Spine and Pain Management
Pain Management Specialist, Hyderabad
Spinal Compression Fracture - How It Can Be Treated?

What is spinal compression fracture?
Spinal compression fractures are getting frequent due to the many lifestyle changes which we undergo. The body should not be made to be put use in a certain way like posture, lifting heavy weights, etc. However, prolonged and repeated usage affects the spine directly and results in compression fractures. Though the condition looks, gratifying, modern science has advanced to levels where the fractures can be addressed very effectively, and the pain symptoms can be eradicated almost completely. Let us have a summary about the treatment methods.

The treatment
The treatment plan of any spinal compression fracture should effectively highlight the pain, the factors leading to the pain and lastly the fracture itself. Our body has been designed in such a way that the spine can withstand an amount of pressure and force. As a result of it, it is one of the strongest parts of the human body. Hence most the fractures heal with pain medications and strength exercises. These activities can be embraced as a permanent one- thus eradicating the pain altogether.

Pain killers are administered gradually for a few weeks along with rest and once the pain subsidises strength exercises are imparted as a part of the treatment plan. In few cases, anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants can also help in relieving the nerve related pain. A back brace like an easily removable cast can also be put when doing the usual activities. This, directly stiffness the spine and provides it with support. The pressure to the spine can be greatly relieved due to the back brace.


Surgery for Spinal compression fractures
As stated, most of the spinal pain can go away with certain lifestyle changes and medications. However, in some extreme cases even after putting all the effort the pain does not go, then a surgical treatment has to be performed to correct the fractures. There are two minimally invasive procedures namely Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty and one complicated procedure known medically as the Spinal fusion surgery. In vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, bone cement is spread across in layers to the affected region.

These blocks of cement have a tendency to get strong in a matter of minutes, thus relieving the pressure immediately. Spinal fusion surgery is done in extremely rare cases where two or more vertebras are connected together using metal screws. Sometimes even a bone graft is affixed to provide support to the fractured region. Doctors, however, do not go for it usually as the procedure causes extreme inconvenience even after the treatment.

Prevention
Spinal compressions are a frequent occurrence nowadays, and as good physician would suggest prevention is better than cure. Making the much-needed changes to life and the activities we perform can drastically reduce the chances of getting a spinal compression fracture.

11 people found this helpful

Spinal Cord Injury - Physiotherapy For It!

Dr. Anuradha Sharma 91% (16546 ratings)
MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Spinal Cord Injury - Physiotherapy For It!

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.

Causes-

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

Symptoms -

Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  1. problems walking
  2. loss of control of the bladder or bowels
  3. inability to move the arms or legs
  4. feelings of spreading numbness or tingling in the extremities
  5. unconsciousness
  6. headache
  7. pain, pressure, stiffness in the back or neck area
  8. signs of shock
  9. 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

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:

  1. Stretching activities to maintain muscle and tendon length and reduce or keep muscle spasms/spasticity to a minimum.
  2. Flexibility and strengthening exercises for the whole body.
  3. Breathing exercises to maximise lung function and prevent chest infection.
  4. 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.)
  5. Functional activities to improve fundamental movement patterns such as rolling over and sitting up, and standing where appropriate.
  6. 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.

Prevention

Because spinal cord injuries are often due to unpredictable events, the best you can do is reduce your risk.

 Some risk-reducing measures include:

  1. Always wearing a seatbelt while in a car
  2. Wearing proper protective gear while playing sports
  3. 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!

3172 people found this helpful
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