Your risk for a traumatic spinal cord injury may depend on factors such as your age and your activities. Some of the most common causes of traumatic spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents, athletic activities and falls. They can also occur due to an act of violence, such as a gunshot or knife wound.
According to the Mayo Clinic, damage to your spinal cord can affect you in different ways depending on the level of your injury. The following are some common complications that can arise from a traumatic spinal cord injury.
An injury to your spinal cord can cause you to lose tone, causing your muscles to become limp or soft. The medical term for this condition is muscle flaccidity. The opposite can also occur, in which your muscles become spastic, i.e., uncontrollably taut.
You may experience a partial or complete loss of sensation in the skin of your body below the level of spinal cord injury. This affects your ability to perceive potential hazards, such as extreme cold or heat. Following your spinal cord injury, you should receive instruction on proper skin care to avoid bedsores, which are more likely to develop when you spend more time in a bed or wheelchair and cannot feel the pain associated with them.
Bowel and bladder dysfunction
These are common complications of spinal cord injuries and often an early indication that something is wrong. You may become incontinent, unable to control bowel movements or urination. Bladder dysfunction can also put you at risk of developing problems such as kidney stones or urinary tract infections.