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Frequently asked questions about spinal cord injuries

In the wake of an accident, you may very well find yourself becoming an expert in body parts you previously gave no thought to. One common injury from an accident is one to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries are extremely complicated and are often not understood unless you, or someone you love, is experiencing one.

In the event of a spinal cord injury, here are 5 common questions to establish a base of knowledge.

  • Do injuries to the spinal column affect movement?

If the injury is mild enough, a person can have little to no signs of injury. More severe, or complete, injuries, will influence movement.

  • What are the vertebrae and what role do they play?

The spinal column consists of 33 bones, one on top of the other. In between the bones you have discs, which act as cushions to prevent injury during movement. The vertebral column surrounds the spinal cord, which transfers messages from your brain to your body to create movement.

  • What are the parts of the spinal column?

The vertebrae span four sections: Cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. The cervical region is closest to the head and the sacral is in the low back or buttocks.

  • What treatment options are available in the event of a spinal injury?

Depending on the severity and location of the injury, surgery or immobilization may be performed to prevent any further damage. In addition to these initial measures, various experimental treatments may be suggested (see below).

  • Is stem cell therapy effective?

Although it’s still quite early on, there is much optimism within the medical community about the use of stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Specialists from across the world are engaging in clinical trials that may one day amount to a scientific breakthrough.

Together, the parts of the spinal column work together to allow humans to move in the particular way that we are accustomed to. In the event of an injury to this area, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately.

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