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The spinal cord is one of the essential parts of the body. The spinal cord has nerves that send out signals and messages back and forth between the brain and the remaining parts of the body. Spinal cord compression is a condition in which a mass places an abnormal amount of pressure on the cord. This pressure on the spinal cord can be due to an abnormal growth such as a tumor, or even bone fragment. This compression can affect any part of the spinal cord from the neck to the lower part of the spine. This condition can be severe if compression is enormous. This piece would focus on the various causes, symptoms, and treatments of the condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Cord Compression?

Spinal cord compression can cause a various number of symptoms. The type of symptom depends on the severity of the compression, and on what part of the spinal cord that is affected. Some of the most common symptoms of spinal cord compression include stiffness, pain in the back or in the neck. Other symptoms of this condition include numbness or weakness in various parts of the body such as in the legs, hands, arms and so on. A condition that is associated with spinal cord compression is cauda equina syndrome.

This condition develops when the compression affects the lumbar area. Some of the symptoms of the Cauda equina syndrome include the following:

  • Persons affected may experience severe pain and weakness in the legs.
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control.
  • Severe numbness in the back of the legs and also in the inner thighs.

Overall, spinal cord compression affects the coordination and fine more skills of the body.

What Are The Causes Of Spinal Cord Compression?

Spinal cord compression can occur suddenly, and can also develop over time. There are a lot of things that could lead to spinal cord compression.  Some of the causes of this condition include the following:

  • Spinal cord compression can be caused by degenerative diseases like arthritis.
  • This condition can also be caused by a rupture of the intervertebral disks.
  • Trauma or injury to the spinal cord or areas surrounding the cord can lead to swelling, which would eventually lead to compression.
  • Some bleeding disorders, along with manipulations on the back, can lead to the formation of big clots, which can compress the spinal cord.
  • Growths around the spinal cord or space near the cord can cause compression on it. The growth of tumors around the cord can lead to this.

What Are The Risk Factors For Spinal Cord Compression?

Spinal cord compression can occur in anyone. As earlier mentioned, one of the most common causes of this condition is trauma, which could happen to anyone. However, there are some factors that could lead to the development of this condition. Some of them include the following:

  • Making use of poor techniques in lifting heavy materials could lead to spinal cord compression. This is most common in heavy weight lifters.
  • Individuals affected with bone disorders, such as osteoarthritis may have an increased risk for developing spinal cord compression.

                    Diagnosis of Spinal Cord Compression

It’s essential to consult your physician if you suspect you might have injured your spinal cord, or if you have a trauma to the middle of your back.

 Physicians can diagnose this condition by taking a medical history of the patient and also carrying out an examination on the patient. Some of the investigations that could be done include an X-ray of the spine, a CT-scan, or an MRI test. There are some cases in which the doctor may order a myelogram. This procedure involves injecting a dye into the spinal area, and then a computed tomography scan of the area.
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What Are The Possible Outcomes Of An Individual Affected With Spinal Cord Compression?

The outlook of the spinal cord depression depends on the cause of the compression. While some people respond quickly to treatment, some people don’t respond well to treatment.

          How to Prevent Spinal Cord Compression?

Spinal cord compression might be impossible to prevent in a lot of cases.  This is because it can be caused by a lot of things. As an example, keeping fit and maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease the pressure on the back and symptoms the condition. In addition, individuals who lift heavy weights should endeavor to make use of the right technique to avoid any trauma or injury to their back. Individuals affected with osteoarthritis have to be careful when engaging in physical activities, even in small activities.

How Is Spinal Cord Compression Treated?

The treatment of spinal cord compression depends on the cause, and also on the severity of the compression. The treatment of this condition can be surgical or non-surgical. Physicians may recommend that affected individuals reduce their physical activity. Below are some of the treatment plans physicians do carry out:

  • Physicians may administer anti-inflammatory medications. This type of medication can help to reduce swelling and also the pain associated with the condition.
  • They may also give epidural steroid injections. This is usually administered to the spinal area, to help improve the symptoms of spinal cord compression.
  • Some persons affected with this condition may also benefit from therapy. There are specialists that focus on this. Physiotherapists can help form a plan that patients can follow to help improve their recovery. It’s important to know that exercise can help improve the strength of the abdomen and the leg muscles.
  • Home remedies such as the application of ice packs, heating pads, and over-the-counter pain relievers can also be helpful in relieving pain.
  • There are alternative treatments that have proved useful in spinal cord compression. Some of them include acupuncture and acupressure. It’s important to note that chiropractic manipulation should not be used for this condition.
  • In a situation where the compression is caused by a tumor, physicians would try to shrink the tumor. This can be done through radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and so on.
  • Surgery: Physicians would consider carrying out the surgery, if the conservative treatments, such as the ones listed above, fails to work. The type of surgery that would be done depends on the cause of the compression. The surgeons may fuse the vertebrae together, or increase the space between them.


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