Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
See a doctor immediately if you experience:
- Inability to move
- Weakness, lack of coordination, or poor balance
- Trouble walking
- Extreme pain or pressure in your back, neck, or head
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel if something is hot or cold
- Decreased or increased sensation
- Numbness, pain, or an intense stinging sensation
- Loss of bladder and bowel control, including incontinence or an ability to relieve yourself
- Exaggerated reflexes or muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
Suppose you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms. In that case, you can go to Odessa Regional Medical Center, Excel ER Odessa, Signature Care Emergency Center, WesTex Urgent Care, or any other immediate care or emergency facility to see a doctor.
Midland Memorial Hospital and Medical Center Hospital are Level III Trauma Centers in the Permian Basin. Odessa Regional Medical Center is a Level IV trauma facility.
How Doctors Diagnose Spinal Cord Injuries
Doctors begin with a thorough exam. They’ll note your symptoms and measure your reflexes, physical abilities, and neurological responses.
The next step is imaging. Most likely, you’ll go through an MRI, though doctors might call for a CT scan or X-rays. These scans can show fractures, degenerative changes to the spin, bulging discs, masses, blood clots, and more. Imaging is crucial in determining where and what type of spinal injury you’ve suffered.
Treating Spinal Cord Injuries
Depending on your injury, you may go through surgery to decompress and stabilize the spine. Other surgeries include:
- Artificial disc replacement
- Spinal fusion
Your doctor might recommend physical therapy, medications, and other care to help you recover. While nerves can heal over time, doctors can’t repair a damaged spinal cord. There are some experimental treatments, but there’s no cure for paralysis or loss of sensation from a complete or complete spinal cord injury.
Don’t expect your doctor to give you a prognosis right away. You often need time to heal before doctors can start to assess your abilities and potential recovery. You can continue to heal and experience improvement for years after your injury.