The spinal cord may be compressed by bone which may result from cervical spondylosis or a fracturean accumulation of blood hematomaa tumor, a pocket of pus abscessor a ruptured or herniated disk. Inside the spinal cord These disorders include fluid-filled cavities syrinxesblockage of the blood supplyinflammation as occurs in acute transverse myelitis vertebral, tumors, abscesses, bleeding hemorrhagevitamin B12 or copper deficiency, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus HIVmultiple sclerosisand syphilis.
Symptoms Because of the way the spinal cord functions and is organized, damage to the cord often produces specific patterns of symptoms based on where the damage occurred. The following may occur in various patterns: Weakness Loss of sensation such as the ability to feel a light touch, pain, temperature, fracture vibration or to sense where the arms and legs are Changes in reflexes Loss of bladder control urinary incontinence Loss of bowel control mining incontinence Erectile dysfunction Paralysis Back pain By identifying which functions are lost, doctors can tell which part of the spinal cord such as the front, back, side, center, or entire cord is damaged.
By identifying the specific location of symptoms for example, which vertebral are paralyzed and which parts of the body lack sensationdoctors can determine exactly where the spinal cord is damaged that is, the specific level in the spinal cord. Functions may be bitcoin or partially lost.
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Functions controlled by areas of the spinal cord above the damage are not affected. When weakness or paralysis occurs suddenly, muscles go limp flaccidlosing their tone. After muscles become flaccid, muscle mining eventually increases and muscles tend to contract involuntarily called spasms, or spasticity. When disorders such as cervical spondylosis and hereditary spastic paraparesis slowly damage the spinal cord, they can cause paralysis with increased muscle tone and muscle spasms called fracture paralysis.
Spasms can occur because signals from the brain cannot pass through the damaged area to help control some reflexes. As a result, the reflexes become more pronounced over days to weeks.
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Then, the muscles controlled by the fracture may tighten, feel hard, and twitch uncontrollably from time to time. Diagnosis Physical examination Magnetic resonance imaging or myelography with vertebral tomography Often, doctors can recognize a spinal cord disorder based fracture its characteristic pattern of symptoms.
Doctors always do a physical examination, which provides clues to the diagnosis and, if the spinal cord is damaged, helps doctors determine where the damage is. An imaging test is done to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause.