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Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Would you know what to do if someone you love suffered a spinal cord injury? Every year, thousands of American families face this life-altering situation. Physicians Premier is dedicated this National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month to helping educate the community on the dangers, prevention, and treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Spinal Cord Injury Facts

Approximately 17,810 new cases of spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). Lifetime costs associated with severe cases can exceed $5 million. Spinal cord injuries often result in permanent changes in sensation, strength, and bodily functions below the site of injury.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord sustains damage, disrupting the signal pathways between the body and brain. Picture the spinal cord as the body’s information superhighway; when there’s a ‘roadblock,’ signals can’t travel, leading to impaired mobility and bodily functions.

The Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The leading causes include:

  • Car Accidents: Account for 39% of cases
  • Falls: About 31% of spinal cord injuries are fall-related
  • Violence: 13.5% of cases are due to violent encounters like gunshots and stabbings
  • Sports: Approximately 8% are sports-related

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are two main types:

  • Complete Spinal Cord Injury – No sensations or voluntary movement below the site of injury.
  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury –  Some function remains below the point of injury.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

Visit your nearest Physicians Premier facility for immediate attention if you experience:

  • Loss of movement or sensation
  • Extreme back pain or pressure
  • Weakness or poor coordination
  • Tingling or numbness in limbs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty breathing following the injury

How are Spinal Cord Injuries Diagnosed at Physicians Premier?

Upon arrival, trauma patients are immediately assessed to gauge the severity of their injuries. The first action our doctors take is to ensure that the patient is able to breathe and has a pulse.

We then evaluate the patient’s neurologic function by testing the strength and sensation in their arms and legs. Should we find a weakness or if the patient is unconscious, a rigid cervical collar is promptly placed to minimize the risk of further injury.

Once initial assessments are complete, a CT scan of the patient’s spinal cord is ordered. This allows us to identify any fractures or abnormalities that require immediate intervention.

This approach aligns with our commitment to deliver swift and accurate diagnosis, optimizing chances for successful treatment and recovery.

A mix of neurological exams, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs typically make up the diagnostic process. Early diagnosis improves recovery outcomes.

Fast and Comprehensive Diagnosis at Physicians Premier

Physicians Premier, your Cibolo ER, is equipped to diagnose and stabilize spinal cord injury victims before transporting them to the nearest specialized hospital. Our minimal wait time guarantee ensures you receive critical care faster, which can significantly improve your chances of recovery.


“Spinal Cord Injury Facts & Statistics,” Spinal Cord Injury Information Pages,
“Spinal cord injury,” Mayo Clinic,
“Spinal Cord Injury,” Cleveland Clinic,