Updated: Oct 13, 2022
In most cases, spinal injuries are caused by accidents that cause a vertebra to break and thus prevent circulation within the spinal cord. Unlike pain caused after a sudden or poorly executed movement, injury occurs when there is involvement of some region of the spine.
The spine is the structure responsible for keeping us upright, as it is composed of a set of bones (vertebrae), joined by joints and separated by cartilage discs. This structure is also responsible for mobility and acts on the sensory, and injuries can impair these functions.
When we talk about spinal injuries, they can be cured, however, in some cases the pain can persist and the treatment, in these cases, must be continuous. So, understand how spinal injuries happen, the main types of injuries and learn how to treat them.
Spine Injuries: How They Happen
In most cases, spinal injuries are caused by trauma. Athletes are the most affected, as movements of high complexity and impact can cause accidents. When a traumatic event occurs, there is pressure, separation, or destruction in the spinal cord circulation.
As a consequence, it is possible that the patient suffers from intense pain, impaired mobility and also loss of sensory capacity. Losses can be momentary or irreversible, it all depends on the level of the accident. Loss of mobility can also be at different stages depending on where the injury occurred.
In addition to athletes, other causes for spinal injuries are traffic accidents, firearm injuries, falls in domestic accidents or accidents during shallow water diving. Therefore, care must be taken to avoid this type of injury. Wearing a seat belt, avoiding risky activities at home, and avoiding diving in inappropriate places are all ways to prevent injuries.
Main types of spinal injuries
Contrary to popular belief, there is not just one type of spinal injury. In addition to different levels of magnitude with regard to where injuries occur, there are also types.
Get to know each one of them.
Sprains are the simplest injuries, the most common types when someone complains of back pain. They are caused by the displacement of the ligaments, which generates an inflammatory process in the region, bringing pain and spasms to the patient.
Ligaments are responsible for vertebral stability, that is, they limit movements, bringing firmness. When there is an exaggerated movement, the ligaments are overloaded, which causes different levels of pain. Some disappear quickly, others are persistent. Although sprains are simpler injuries, there are cases in which ligaments are torn and specialized help should be contacted quickly.
The spine is made up of a series of cartilage discs. When there is a weakening of the vertebral disc or even a displacement, the injury is called a herniated disc. As these structures serve to cushion the impact between the vertebrae, it is a very painful type of injury.
It can impact the entire vertebral region, from the cervical to the lumbar. In some cases, the pain radiates to the legs and feet or the shoulders. It is quite common in elderly people, as wear and tear occurs naturally over the years. In young people it can occur due to poor posture or carrying too much weight and overloading the discs.
Spinal cord injuries
They are injuries caused by trauma and that can compromise the spinal nerves. They can cause motor and sensory damage, as the spinal cord has the function of sending messages to the brain. It is the most serious type of injury.
How to treat them: know the main treatments
Treatments for spine injuries are diverse and according to the type of injury. However, regardless of the level of injury, it is important that the patient seek medical help as soon as he notices the first symptoms. In cases of falls or accidents, it is advisable to seek help immediately, without moving without the assistance of the medical team.
Discover the main treatments.
Rest and medication
For the simpler sprain injuries, rest is an important part of treatment. As an inflammatory process occurs in this case, it is recommended to let the spine rest to reduce inflammation. However, rest should not be extensive and should follow the proper medical recommendations.
In addition, anti-inflammatory medications, creams and ointments for pain may be recommended. If sprains are frequent, the doctor may recommend Physiotherapy sessions. Reformer Pilates sessions, stretching and the use of specialized equipment are the most common.
Orthopedic surgery and braces
For more severe cases of spinal fractures, surgery may be recommended. After surgery, the use of orthopedic braces or braces can bring more comfort to the patient during recovery. Physiotherapy sessions are also indicated to regain mobility and preventive physiotherapy to prevent further injuries. Surgery may also be recommended in cases of spinal cord injury accidents.
Next, learn about the main types of physiotherapy for the spine.
This approach includes exercises that can be done by the patient or by movements with the help of the Physiotherapist. Sessions include stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises performed by the patient. They may also include massages and manual maneuvers performed by the Physiotherapist.
The purpose of electrotherapy is to reduce pain, inflammation and also strengthen the spine region. Several devices suitable for physiotherapy are used that release electrical currents in order to promote muscle contraction, improve blood circulation or heat the region.
The laser can also be used in electrotherapy. This method works as antiflammatory and analgesic, in addition to accelerating the healing capacity of the affected region. It can be used in times of crisis to relieve pain and accelerate the healing.
As its name suggests, thermotherapy uses heat as an ally for treatment, especially promoting analgesia. The heat alleviates inflammation, in addition to acting in the regeneration of the affected tissues.
It can be done by Tecar Therapy, TECAR (acronym meaning Capacitive and Resistive Energy Transfer), is an innovative therapy that uses endogenous heat production to treat Musculoskeletal Traumas and Pathologies. Although the therapy based on heat has been known and used for a long time for the treatment of articular and muscular pain, only with the application of this technology, which generates heat inside tissues, have substantial steps been made in terms of results and effectiveness. Tecar therapy is spreading more and more in the medical and physiotherapeutic fields due to its extraordinary effectiveness.
Made with the use of water, it can be made at different temperatures, with hot water being the most used. It can also be performed through movements with the body immersed in water, to avoid impact on the region.
There are other methods of physiotherapy that can be indicated by the physiotherapist depending on the case.