English 4 MIN READ 36 VIEWS June 11, 2024

Pain in Spinal Cord: What to Do About It?

Spinal pain is one of the most common problems that affects people. Injury in the spinal cord and surrounding structure can lead to spinal pain. when the injury occurs, there may be damage to the nerves within the spinal cord or to nerves that come out of it. The spinal cord usually sends signals between the brain and the rest of the body and When an injury happens, this normal function is disrupted. The pain can be dull, constant, and worsen to sharp pain that can even shoot down to the leg. At times, it results from a fall, an accident or lifting heavy things. If not treated properly, the pain will be difficult to manage as it slowly increases with age. 

Often, spinal cord injury can result in changes in your strength and how you feel. Most of the time, it affects the overall functioning of the body. After spinal cord injury, you may experience emotional, mental, and social side effects. It is, therefore, crucial to learn the underlying causes of spinal cord pain, warning signs, and treatment options. This article covers all that in detail, so check it out.

Spinal Cord Pain Overview

The spinal cord plays an important role in our bodies. The spinal cord function is to send motor commands to the body from the brain and helps relay sensory information from body to brain. Spinal cord function goes beyond sensory and motor stimulation. It plays a huge role in coordinating the reflexes, sensations, and other functions in the body.

However, when there is an injury, prompt medical help is required. Spinal pain is a prevalent medical condition commonly experienced in lower back and neck regions. It can result in significant discomfort and even disability. Spinal cord injury occurs due to muscle strains, sprains, and severe conditions which may need surgical intervention.

Causes of Spinal Cord Pain

The human back is made of complex structures of ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones, and discs which work as a group to support our body and also allow easy movement. Segments of the spine are protected and cushioned with cartilages called discs. If there is a problem with one of these components, the outcome is back pain. 

Often the damage in your spine can be from a strain, poor posture, a medical condition, and other factors. The pain in spinal cord causes varies and it can be infections, injury, trauma, etc. 

Below are the major pain in spinal cord causes:

  • Trauma: The pain in spinal cord can be a result of traumatic injuries like sports injuries, falls, or accidents. Any of this can damage your spinal cord leading to chronic pain.
  • Infections: Infections like meningitis can also make a person feel pain in the spinal cord. Such infections may cause inflammation and damage the spinal cord, leading to pain.
  • Tumours: Some primary tumours or metastatic cancer can grow on your spinal cord or compress it, which further leads to pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis: This is a condition where a spinal cord canal narrows abnormally, further putting pressure on the spinal cord, thus causing pain.
  • Herniated Discs: Herniated disc happens when the soft material in the disc pushes out of the outer cartilage through the crack or tear. This process may irritate the nearby nerves, which causes pain in the spinal cord.
  • Spinal Degeneration: This is also referred to as spondylosis which is a condition where the spinal discs wear down and lose their function to absorb shock. This, in turn, results in pain in the spinal cord.

The pain in spinal cord causes discomfort, inability to move freely, and emotional issues. So, seeking prompt help could be helpful.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Pain

Pain in spinal cord symptoms varies depending on the location of the pain. The most common symptoms include:

  • Chronic pain which is persistent and constant 
  • Feeling weak in the affected area
  • A radiating pain from the spine to other body parts like legs and arms
  • Feeling numbness or tingling sensations in the spine
  • Burning sensation in the affected area of your spinal cord
  • Diminished/Loss of reflexes.

Treatment for Spinal Cord Pain

Spinal cord pain normally can be resolved with home remedies and enough rest. However, if it gets persistent, ensure you get medical help from a professional. Below are some pain in spinal cord treatment options available:

Home Treatment

Some of the home treatments for the spinal cord are over-the-counter medication, a hot compress or applying an ice pack to the area where you feel pain. This may reduce the pain. In addition, avoiding strenuous activities may also help.

Medical Treatment

If the home remedies don’t relieve pain in spinal cord, you can opt for medication or physical therapy. After diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe the right medication to relieve the pain.

Applying ice, heat and muscle release techniques to your back muscles may help lessen the pain. If the pain improves, a therapist may advise you to try strength exercises for the abdominal and back muscles. Practising these techniques regularly will help prevent the recurrence of back pain.

Surgery

It is very rare for a person experiencing spinal cord injury to go for surgery except for structural damage. An individual can opt for this option in cases of a herniated disc, where the pain is persistent, and there is nerve compression, which may cause muscle weakness.

Conclusion

Spinal cord pain isn’t a mere normal occurrence but a complex condition that needs a comprehensive approach. Understanding pain in spinal cord causes and symptoms are crucial for effective treatment. Medications, physical therapy and surgery are all the available options you may consider to manage chronic pain. Remember, every person’s experience with spinal cord pain is different and unique, so it needs a personalised approach to effective management.

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