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When should you seek medical care for a spinal injury?

When a resident of California gets into a severe car accident or suffers some other type of accident, it could result in trauma to their spinal column. Certain warning signs indicate that you should seek medical care.

How spinal cord injuries affect you

The spinal cord transmits messages between the brain and different parts of the body. The spinal column is made up of vertebrae and tissue. When trauma affects the area, it can lead to serious damage to the spinal cord and the surrounding nerves. This can affect the way the body functions.

When to seek medical care for spinal column trauma

Depending on the area impacted, if you suffer a spinal cord injury, you could be left with certain symptoms. Some of these might be life-threatening. If your breathing has been affected, it should be considered an urgent medical emergency and you should go to the nearest emergency room.

It’s easy to confuse back or neck pain, but if you have experienced a spinal injury, you shouldn’t shrug it off. If your pain is severe in those areas or the head, it’s a warning sign that you need medical attention. Tingling or sensation loss in your hands, fingers, toes or feet could also mean your injury is more serious than initially thought.

Spinal cord trauma can also affect your bladder and bowel functions. You might have an urgency to go to the bathroom or might find that you have difficulty or are unable to go. In either situation, seeking medical care is crucial.

Getting a diagnosis

Breathing and heart rate are the first things checked in emergencies involving spinal injuries. The doctor checks the nerves and the person’s motor and sensory functions.

A diagnosis is made using X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. An electromyogram (EMG) may also be used to check muscle and nerve activity.

Spinal cord injuries should always be evaluated through medical attention.