Treatment for Back and Spinal Cord Injuries by an Experienced Neurosurgeon

Neurosurgery at Mercy - Baltimore, MD
About the Condition

Back Injury

Back injury can occur due to sudden trauma or over a period of time due to wear and tear on the bones or muscles of the back. Common back injuries include fractured vertebrae, herniated (or ruptured) discs and sprains or strains. Back injuries may become so painful that everyday movement is limited.

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. Spinal cord injuries involve trauma to the spinal cord, the bundle of nerves in the middle of the back that carry signals between the body and the brain. Spinal cord injuries typically are the result of a blow that fractures or dislocates the vertebrae, causing a tear or compression of the cord tissue. The injury can cause a complete lack of feeling, sensation or movement below the injury or a partial loss.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms and Diagnostic Tests for Back Injury

Back injuries may cause symptoms such as back pain, limited motion, shooting pain down one or both legs, numbness or leg pain. The following diagnostic tools may be utilized in diagnosing a back injury:

  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Nerve studies (electromyography or EMG)

Diagnostic Tests for Spinal Cord Injury

Tests for spinal cord injury focus on understanding the extent of the trauma. Tests may include:

  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • MRI

Swelling due to the injury may account for some sensation loss. Because of this a full neurological exam may be conducted several days after the injury. These tests focus on testing muscle strength and ability to sense light touch.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Treatment for Back Injury

Treatment for back injury may include rest, medication, injections or physical therapy. When non-surgical treatments are not effective and pain from the injury is still severe and causing limitations on daily activities, surgery may be recommended.

Treatment for Spinal Injury

Spinal cord injuries require immediate attention to reduce long-term effects. Braces or collars may be used initially to stabilize the injury and limit movement, which could cause additional damage. Surgery may be necessary to stabilize the spine or remove fragments of bone or foreign objects to prevent further damage. 

Following stabilization of the initial injury doctors focus on addressing secondary problems that could arise including respiratory infections, bladder or bowel issues, pressure ulcers and muscle contractures. The next stage of treatment is rehabilitation, which is often necessary to strengthen existing function.

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Patient Stories
Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Euphemia

A Baltimore woman is now walking around pain-free after spine surgery at Mercy to correct a debilitating disc injury.