What are the signs of a spinal cord injury?

If you experience an injury involving your back, you may attribute the pain you feel afterwards to your muscles healing. While this certainly may be the case, do you know which symptoms indicate something more serious? If you start dropping things excessively, for example, do you know that it could be a sign of a spinal cord injury?

It is essential to understand the signs of a spinal cord injury, and know when to seek help immediately, to prevent serious complications.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms

It is not always immediately noticeable when you sustain a spinal cord injury. According to Mayo Clinic, you should take note of the following symptoms if they occur, as they may indicate a serious problem:

  • You have trouble breathing, or even just clearing your throat
  • You notice a loss of your normal range of movement
  • You have intense, tingling pain in your back
  • You notice dullness in the ability to feel temperature or pressure difference
  • You experience the inability to become sexually aroused
  • You have trouble controlling your bowels

You may also experience irregularities in your reflexes, such as over or under exaggeration.

When to seek emergency medical care

Some people delay medical care for as long as possible after an injury. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is imperative that you get yourself to a hospital as soon as you can:

  • Your back or neck is suddenly at an odd position or twisted
  • You experience intense pressure or pain in your back, head or neck
  • Following the injury, you do not feel like you can breathe correctly
  • You experience paralysis or cannot control your limbs
  • You find it difficult to walk or maintain balance

It is crucial that you seek medical care following any type of injury involving your back to immediately rule out a spinal cord injury.