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What is a Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury is any damage or trauma to the spinal cord that results in either a temporary or permanent change in normal motor or sensory functioning. The most common causes of spinal cord injury are disease or trauma from car accidents, falls, sports injuries or gunshots. Spinal cord injuries also include bulging or herniated discs, which can cause neck and back pain. While spinal cord injuries are rare among infants, trauma that causes disruption of the cord can cause serious injuries. Trauma usually occurs in breech deliveries (where the infant is delivered feet first).
The spinal cord is extremely sensitive to injury. While other parts of the body have the ability to repair itself if damaged, the spinal cord does not have this ability, making spinal cord injuries especially devastating. Unfortunately, they are also fairly common. According to National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury are reported each year in the United States.
Spinal cord injuries can either be complete or incomplete. Those who suffer complete spinal cord injury lose all sensation and muscle function in the body below the level of the injury. On the other hand, those who have some remaining function below the level of the injury are said to have an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Bulging and herniated discs are another common injury that results in neck and back pain. A bulging disc occurs when a disc bulges through a crevice in the spine when the disc shifts out of its normal position. It typically is the result of an injury or trauma to the spine. A disc bulge is often the first step toward a more serious problem known as a herniated disc.
A herniated disc occurs when the spongy discs in your back that absorbs the shock and keeps the spine flexible are damaged, either bulging or breaking open. It can be caused by wear and tear from age or injury or trauma to the spine (often from motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents or falls). Surgery is not usually needed to treat a herniated disc. In serious cases, however, surgery is required to lessen pain and allow for more normal movement and function.