Spinal Cord Shock # #spinal #cord #injuries, #spinal #shock, #spinal #cord #shock
Spinal Cord Shock
When a spinal cord injury is caused due to trauma, the body goes into a state known as spinal shock. While spinal shock begins within a few minutes of the injury, it make take several hours before the full effects occur. During spinal shock the nervous system is unable to transmit signals, some of which may return once spinal shock has subsided, the time spinal shock lasts for is approximately 4-6 weeks following the injury. In some rare cases spinal cord shock can last for several more months. The loss of these signals will effect the persons movement, sensation and how well the body�s systems function. Often the persons loss of movement and sensation below the level of the spinal cord injury may appear complete soon after the injury. This may mask the real extent of the damage. Usually, over the first few weeks the some of body systems adjust to the effects of the injury and their function improves. Therefore, during this time and the early stage of ANY new injury it is unlikely that an accurate prediction of any recovery or permanent paralysis can be made.
Treatment begins with the emergency medical personnel who make an initial evaluation and immobilise the patient for transport. Immediate medical care within the first 8 hours following injury is critical to the patient’s recovery. Nowadays there is much greater knowledge about the moving and handling of spinal injury patients. Incorrect techniques used at this stage could worsen the injuries considerably.
When injury occurs and for a period of time thereafter, the spinal cord responds by swelling. Treatment starts with steroid drugs, these can be administered at the scene by an air ambulance Doctor or trained paramedic. These drugs reduce inflammation in the injured area and help to prevent further damage to cellular membranes that can cause nerve death. Sparing nerves from further damage and death is crucial.
Each patient’s injury is unique. Some patients require surgery to stabilise the spine, correct a gross misalignment, or to remove tissue causing cord or nerve compression. Spinal stabilisation often helps to prevent further damage. Some patients may be placed in traction and the spine allowed to heal naturally. Every injury is unique as is the course of post injury treatment that follows.