A spinal injury is damage to the bones, ligaments, or nerves of the spinal column. This may include damage to the spinal cord, which is the nerve that extends from the base of the brain through the spinal canal to the lower back, or to the bones.
A spinal injury can make a person unable to move or control part of the body. The effects depend on the location and severity of the damage.
Signs of a spinal injury may include:
- Severe neck or back pain.
- Inability to move a part of the body (paralysis). The inability to move is not caused by a direct injury to that part of the body or by pain.
- Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs.
- New loss of bowel or bladder control.
Spinal injury must be considered any time there has been an injury to the head, face, neck, or back. The injured person must be immobilized and moved correctly, with the head and neck supported and aligned, to avoid permanent paralysis.
Current as of: February 27, 2023
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & David Messenger MD - Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine