All about Spinal Cord Compression

Spinal cord compression is originated by any condition that puts pressure on your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is the collection of nerves that carries messages back and forth from your brain to your muscles. When spinal cord travels down your back, it is protected by a stack of backbones known as vertebrae. They help in holding your body upright. Spinal cord compression happens when a mass places pressure on the cord. A mass can add a tumor or bone fragment. This can develop anywhere along the spinal cord from the neck to the lower back.

The symptoms of spinal compression can vary largely. This depends on how severe the compression is and on what area of the spinal cord is shut. The common symptoms are:
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck or back, or lower back
  • Burning pain that spreads across the arms, buttocks, or down into the legs.
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms, hands, or legs
  • Sensational loss in the feet
  • Trouble with hand or leg coordination
  • Loss of sexual ability
A condition called as cauda equina syndrome can occur gradually if the compression is in the lumbar area. The symptoms of this syndrome include:
  • pain and weakness in the legs
  • a loss of bowel and bladder control
  • numbness in the back of the legs and inner thighs
  • Compression affects fine motor skills and coordination.
Spinal compression has many possible causes. This can occur suddenly in some cases or can happen over time in other instances. The major causes include the following:
  • Some degenerative diseases can lead to spinal cord compression.
  • A ruptured disk may lead to compressed cord.
  • Injury to the spinal cord can cause compression.
  • Bleeding clutters  coupled with chiropractic manipulation can result in large clots compressing the cord.
  • Spurs of bone can narrow the spinal canal, causing compression of the spine.
It can be diagnosed by performing a medical history and an exam, along with a MRI test or CT Scan of the spine. Both a CT and MRI can detail image of your spine.

Caring for a spinal compression depends on the causes and the severity of the compression. A doctor often recommends a reduced physical activity. Treatment plans can involve the following:
  • Anti-inflammatory medications decrease swelling and reduce pain.
  • Epidural steroid injections into the spinal area help treating the symptoms of spinal cord compression.
  • Some people with spinal cord compression may benefit from exercises. A planned physical therapy can help strengthen the abdominal and leg muscles.
  • Home care which includes applying ice packs and heating pads can help relieve pain.
  • Alternative therapies can involve acupuncture or acupressure.
  • Surgery should be an option if most conservative treatments don’t work.

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