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Coping with Spinal Cord Injuries

In the United States, more than 12,000 people suffer from spinal cord injuries each year. These injuries are painful and often lead to loss of mobility, disability, or paralysis. There are numerous causes of spinal cord injuries, but when they happen life can change in an instant.

Many spinal cord injuries result from car accidents, sports activities, slip-and-falls, and occupational hazards. Any type of hard impact to the spinal cord can result in a variety of damages that range from mild to catastrophic. Depending on the blow and the area that’s injured, many people require immediate medical treatment that often leads to bed rest, hospitalization, or surgery.

The spinal cord is a complex body part made up of a column of nerves and vertebra divided into four distinct areas. When diagnosing injuries, an open mri machine is often used to get clear images of the spinal cord and damages.

* Cervical Spinal Cord – This area is made up of eight vertebrae that connect your spinal cord to your brain, and your neck to your back. These vertebra are often referred to as C1 through C8 with C1 being the highest vertebra in your neck.

* Thoracic Spinal Cord – This area makes up the middle section of your spinal cord. It contains 12 vertebrae that are numbered T1 through T12.

* Lumbar Spinal Cord – This area is made up of five vertebrae, L1 – L5, and sits in the lower section of your back. The lumbar region is a common place of injuries from lifting heavy items, falls, strain on the back and poor posture.

* Sacral Spine – Located in the very lowest area of your spine, this area is made up of five vertebrae that form a triangular shape and bend slightly outward. The sacral spine consists of nerves rather than actual spinal cord.

Any type of spinal cord injury can cause pain and limited mobility. If you suspect a spinal cord injury, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor will likely want to examine you with an open mri machine to find the exact location and severity of your injury. Proper diagnosis is essential to your successful treatment and recovery.