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Spinal Cord Injury

Myelopathy or spinal cord injury is a problem in the spinal cord that causes numbness and loss of motor (muscular) control. Spinal cord injuries can be caused due to trauma such as accident and falls and Disease caused due to spina bifida, polio, tumors etc. The effect of spinal cord injuries be Complete (total function and sensation is lost below the injured point) or Incomplete (Sensation is not lost and only few functions of the part suffers malfunctioning).


Spinal cord injuries in general occur due to the following:

  • Road accident, either car or motorcycle
  • Injuries caused due to sports
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Stabbing with knife
  • Fall from an elevated structure
  • Accidents while diving

Symptoms of spinal cord injury include weakness, numbness and reduced synchronization from beneath the point of the injury. There is loss of feelings and tingling sensation. There may be excessive pain or loss of bladder or bowel control. Quadriplegia is an injury at the neck level of the spine and induces difficulty in breathing and paralyzes the arms, legs and trunk. Paraplegia is an injury to the lower spine and results in weakness and loss of mobility and feeling in the legs and the lower part of the body.

  • Corticosteroid drugs are prescribed to ease the injury and perk up chances of healing.
  • Surgery is required for severe cases of damage.
  • Complete bed rest is required during the recovery period.
  • Traction might be suggested depending on the case.
  • Additional treatment for bladder control, urinary infections and bed sore is required.
  • Muscles have to be strengthened through physiotherapy.

Prevention of spinal cord injuries

  • Driving or riding at safe speed limits and following rules thus avoiding traumatic road accidents.
  • Do not resort in violence, assault and physical fights that can lead to gun shots or knife wounds.
  • Keep floor dry so as to prevent falls and when working from a height take all precautionary measures to safe guard your spine.
  • In sports, use the right equipments and gears, and do not over do any activity.

Sciatica

Sciatica is described as pain, numbness or tingling in the leg due to compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs down the back of each leg from the lower spine. The pain associated with sciatica can range from dull ache to excruciating pain that makes movement difficult. The pain may be felt in the buttock, down the back of the leg, below the knee and in the foot.


Causes of sciatica


  • Disc herniation
  • Pelvic fracture
  • Spinal tumors
  • Pelvic injury
  • Pain along one side of the body
  • Worsening in cold weather
  • Osteoarthritis causing pressure on the sciatic nerve

A physical examination along with checking of reflexes on bending, lifting the leg etc are done. X-ray and MRI might be done. Typically sciatica is indicative of another medical problem; which must be attended to. NSAIDs and ice packs provide relief from the pain. Lifting of heavy objects and strenuous back bending are to be avoided. Physical therapy, massage therapy and stretching exercises might help in tackling chronic sciatica.


Potassium Gluconate

This is a potassium supplement useful in those prone to low blood potassium. Its side effects include numbness and tingling of the extremities, confusion, weakness, arrhythmia, ECG changes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, GI ulcerations, GI bleeding, intestinal obstruction, and intestinal perforation.

Using potassium gluconate

1. Should not be used in cases of severe kidney disease, acute dehydration, or those who are using potassium sparing diuretics (e.g. spironolactone, triamterene).
2. Enteric coated potassium tablets cannot be recommended due to increased risk of GI bleeding and ulceration.
3. Minimize GI symptoms by taking this medication with food.

Adult and adolescent dose: oral, elixir, 10-20 mEq of potassium diluted in one-half glass of cold water or juice, two to four times a day; or 5-10 mEq potassium in tablet form, two to four times a day; dosage adjusted to need (up to 100 mEq potassium per day).

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 23, 2017