A spinal injury is damage to the bones, ligaments, or nerves of the
spinal column. This may include damage to the spinal cord, which is the nerve
that extends from the base of the brain through the spinal canal to the lower
back, or to the bones.
A spinal injury can make a person unable to move or control part of
the body. The effects depend on the location and severity of the damage.
Signs of a spinal injury may include:
Severe neck or back pain.
to move a part of the body (paralysis). The inability to move is not caused by
a direct injury to that part of the body or by pain.
tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs.
New loss of bowel or
Spinal injury must be considered any time there has been an injury
to the head, face, neck, or back. The injured person must be immobilized and
moved correctly, with the head and neck supported and aligned, to avoid
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD