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How Do I Know if I Have a Spinal Injury?

An injury to the spine requires immediate medical attention. If not treated properly it can lead to permanent nerve damage or paralysis. But we often hear the same question, “how do I know if I have a spinal injury”? Well, as it turns out, there are some signs you can watch out for.

How to Tell if You Have a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can be life changing. Permanent damage to the spinal cord can lead to loss of sensation and paralysis. This is the most severe type of spine injury and should be treated as a medical emergency.

how do i know if i have a spine injuryTypical causes of spinal cord injuries are car accidents, physical altercations and sports injuries.

Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury are:

  • extreme pain in the head, neck or back
  • loss of consciousness
  • tingling or loss of sensation in the extremities (hands, fingers, feet, toes)
  • numbness or loss of control over any portion of your body
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • difficulty breathing

If you experienced physical trauma (ie: a car accident, sports injury) and have any of these symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately. To prevent further injury should keep your head and neck immobilized until you can be evaluated by a doctor.

Signs You May Have a Spine Injury

Even if you don’t have a spinal cord injury, an injury to the spine can be just as serious. A fractured vertebrae, dislocated vertebrae or ruptured disc can potentially injure the spinal cord and should be treated just as seriously as a spinal cord injury.

Spinal fractures or damage to the inter-vertebral discs don’t have to be the result of physical trauma. Causes for these types of injuries can include osteoporosis, poor posture or repetitive use injuries.

Symptoms of a Fractured Vertebrae

The following can be symptoms of a fractured vertebrae:

  • headache or sudden pain in the neck or back
  • tingling down the arm(s) or leg(s)
  • back pain that intensifies while walking or standing (and may subside while lying down)
  • eventual loss in height
  • eventual posture change (including being hunched over)

Symptoms of a Ruptured or Herniated Disc

If you have a herniated or ruptured disc you often experience intense pain that radiates down your arm(s) or leg(s).

What Should You Do If You Think You Have a Spinal Injury?

Injuries to the spine should be taken very seriously. With critical nerves located inside the spinal canal it’s important to get evaluated by a medical professional if you think you’ve injured your spine.

If you experience physical trauma like a car accident or sports injury and think you may have injured your spine you should get medical professionals to help you. They will stabilize your spine and evaluate your condition to try and prevent further damage.

But, just because you haven’t been in an accident doesn’t mean that you can’t have a spine injury. Back or neck pain with tingling, shooting pains or loss of sensation can also indicate an injury to the spine. If you think you might have injured your spine you should get evaluated by a medical professional. The doctors at Saratoga Spine’s Saratoga, Glens Falls and Plattsburgh offices can help diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment. Give us a call today.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery