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Do You Have a Hidden Spinal Injury?

Spinal injuries are more common than most people think. There are a plethora of ways you can sustain a spinal injury, including:

  • Car accidents/whiplash

  • Slipping or falling

  • Sports injuries

  • Bicycle accidents

  • Medical or surgical complications

  • Diving into water

  • Falling object injuries

  • Lifting heavy objects

...just to mention a few. The problem with spinal injuries is that they might not be immediately noticeable and they can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may appear a few days after the initial incident, making the source of the problem hard to identify. Or an injury may cause symptoms that seem unrelated. For example, if your spine or spinal cord has been affected by a sports injury, you might write off the pain and discomfort as nothing more than a strained muscle. 

Another challenge with spinal injuries is this: Your spinal column protects your spinal cord, an important component of the body's nervous system. If the spinal column becomes damaged or misaligned your spinal cord can become compromised. Symptoms can vary greatly depending on where your spinal cord is affected. For example, a pinched nerve in your cervical spine can result in thyroid conditions while an affected nerve in your lumbar spine can affect your digestion and bladder function - all of which are issues that might not first appear related to a spinal injury. The following chart shows which areas of the spine affect which nervous system functions:

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Diagnosing Spinal Injuries

Immediately after some incidents, such as a serious car accident, doctors often order CT and MRI scans of the spine to determine if there has been any damage to ligaments or other parts of the spine and spinal cord. In these cases, damages may be caught early on. But in many cases, spinal injuries go undiagnosed for months or even years. What are the symptoms of a spinal injury? They can include one or more of the following:

If you have any of these symptoms, or any additional symptoms mentioned in the chart above, and haven't found a solution for them yet, it's worth it to have your spine checked. Can old injuries still be detected? Yes, but x-rays will be necessary to get a clear picture of how and where the spine has been affected. 

Once a spinal injury has been diagnosed, what is the next step? Create a treatment plan! If an old injury has caused a spinal disc problem that is affecting the spinal cord, spinal decompression may be an excellent option to repair the damage and allow the body to begin to heal itself. If a misalignment has caused nerves to be obstructed or inflamed, the atlas orthogonal chiropractic technique can bring your spine back into alignment restoring the space between the vertebrae in the spinal column and giving the spinal cord the room it needs to function properly.

Your doctor or chiropractor may recommend adding special stretches or physical therapy to your treatment plan to aid in restoring flexibility and range of motion once the spinal injury has healed sufficiently and is stable. If an injury is quite old, it may take time to heal completely, but in most cases, it is possible.

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