Diseases of spinal cord – causes, symptoms and treatment

Spinal cord diseases are very serious and dangerous disease. It will affect all activities and function of body. spinal cord is main messenger of body. It sends and receives all the signals between our body and brain.

Disease in spinal cord may causes due to injurys ,accident, infections, blood supply blockage or due any genetic disorder.

The common symptoms of spinal cord diseases are feeling of loss of pain and temperature sensation, numbness, pain around spinal cord or other parts of body and loss of sensation.

Diseases of spinal cord are –

  • Syringomyelia
  • Tabes Dorsalis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Disk Porlapse

1. Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia is a spinal cord disorder characterized by the presence of fluid filled cavities in the spinal cord.

Grey matter present around central canal of spinal cord is the most affected part. So the sensory ( recieving ) disturbance is more as compared to motor ( outgoing ) disturbance.

Causes of Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia occurs due to the overgrowth of neuroglia cells in spinal cord by cavity formation and accumulation of fluid.

In starting only a cavity appears near grey matter in central canal of spinal cord. In later stages the cavity increase and involves white matter of spinal cord also.

Initially disease start appearing in only one or two segments. then in start spreading up and down in more segments. lower cervical and upper thoracic regions are the most affected regions.

Symptoms of Syringomyelia

Characteristics features of this disease are loss of pain and temperature sensation and muscular weakness. severity of loss of sensation depends upon the extent of disease.

Around central canal – If disease is around central canal then there is loss of pain, temperature and crude touch sensation only.

Unilateral – If lesion is unilateral, effect only occurs on the same side.

Posterior grey horn – If disease extended to posterior grey horn then all the sensation are lost. Because of loss of temperature and pain sensation.

Anterior grey horn – If Anterior grey horn is affected then there is paralysis of muscles. in later stage it causes paralysis of legs muscles.

Treatment of Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia treatment depend on symptoms and conditions of patients. Patients who have only mild symptoms do not need any treatment.

But if the condition of patient is severe and affection daily life then medications and surgery is recommended by doctor. Medications will help in pain relief and surgery will relieve pressure on spinal cord.

2. Tabes Dorsalis

Tabes Dorsalis is another disease of spinal cord. It is slowly progressive disease, affecting both motor and sensory functions of the spinal cord.

Cause of Tabes Dorsalis

It occurs due to affected posterior or sensory nerve root.

This disease mostly occur due to Syphilis disease. Syphilis disease is a sexually transmitted infectious disease. Due to Syphilis, disease infection damage spinal cord.

Symptoms of Tabes Dorsalis

In Tabes Doralis both sensory and motor functions are affected.

  • During degenerative changes there is very high pain sensation.
  • Then loss of sensation.
  • Movement of joints become uncontrolled.
  • Both superficial and deep reflexes are lost.
  • Lack of coordination of movement.
  • smooth muscle of urinary bladder become hypotonic.

Treatment of tabes Dorsalis

For Treatment of Tabes Dorsalis Pain killers and antibiotics are given to patient. painkillers used to deal with pain and antibiotics are used to treat infection.

Physical therapy is very important in tabes Dorsalis for treatment and recovery from muscles weakness.

3. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic and inflammatory disease. there is demyelination in brain and spinal cord.

This affect the myelinated nerve fiber of brain, spinal cord and optic nerve causes gradual destruction of myelin sheath.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

The fact is that the causes of multiple Sclerosis is unknown.

Only scientists hypothesized that multiple Sclerosis occurs due to chemical, bacteria, virus and genetic factors which shows abnormal reaction of immune system. In this immune system attacks own body myelin sheath.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

In early stages the symptoms of multiple Sclerosis is very mild. as disease increases various types of symptoms start appearing and become severe.

Initial symptoms are :

  • Mild decrease in sensation of face, legs and arms.
  • Disturbance in maintenance of posture.
  • Partial blindness.

Other symptoms are :

  • Tremor
  • fatigue
  • muscle spasms
  • speech difficulty
  • bowel problems
  • bladder dysfunctions
  • Anxiety, anger and frustration.
  • Short term memory loss
  • Complete blindness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Treatment of multiple Sclerosis

There is no totally curable treatment for multiple Sclerosis. Treatment used for multiple Sclerosis is used to slow down the process of disease.

Different people have different degrees and different types of multiple Sclerosis so also the treatment vary person to person.

Mainly Disease-modifying drugs, Injectables, Infusions, pills, stem cells are used as treatment of multiple Sclerosis.

There are some beneficial natural treatment of multiple Sclerosis are Physical therapy, balance diet and exercise. Those will help to slow down disease.

Physiotherapy is most beneficial in its treatment. the goal of Physiotherapy treatment is to return patient body to normal working condition.

4. Disk Prolapse

Intervertebral or spinal disk is the cartilagenous structure of vertebral column that separates each vertebra.

It is made up of a tough outer fibrous layer and a soft inner part. Inner part acts as a shock absorber and cushions the vertebrae while moving.

A small gap in between the adjacent vertebrae allows nerve roots to enter or leave the spinal cord. Rupture of disk is called disk prolapse.

During disk prolapse, the soft inner material bulges out through a weak area in the hard outer layer.

The bulged disk material may irritate or compress or damage the nerve root that passes through the gap between the
vertebrae. Severity of the condition depends upon the degree of bulging.

Causes of Disk prolapse

  • Injury to spinal cord
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Sitting for a long time
  • Sudden violent twisting of the body involving spine
  • Aging: Because of gradual degeneration of disk
    with age. After about 30 years of age, the disk starts
    dehydrating. So it is more susceptible for rupture at
    the age of 30 to 40 years.

Symptoms of disk prolapse

Symptoms of disk prolapse include pain and weakness in the area of prolapse. Most common area of disk prolapse is the lower part of vertebral column.

If it compresses the sciatic nerve, the symptoms become more severe. Pain spreads down the back of leg to ankle, heel or toes of foot.

Lower limb cannot be lifted sometimes. There is numbness and tingling in
the affected region.

Sitting for long period aggravates the pain and develops other symptoms such as sneezing, coughing or voiding of urine.

Prolonged compression of sciatic nerve leads to weakness of leg muscles.

Next common area of disk prolapse is the neck. In this case, the pain is felt in neck, shoulder blade and armpit. If the nerves supplying upper limbs are compressed, the pain spreads through the arm up to the fingers.

It also causes stiffness, weakness or tingling in the upper limbs. Even the movements of fingers or arm are restricted.

Treatment of Disk prolapse

Disk prolapse is treated by Medications, therapys and surgery.

Medications such as pain killers and injections are given to patient dealing with pain to control pain.

Physiotherapy is very important for treatment of this disease. Physical therapy will help in treatment of pain and focus to restore your body.

If the condition is severe and no option left then the surgery is recommended by doctor.

Dealing with spinal cord diseases is not easy, it will make once life very difficult but remember every thing has its own solution in different way. Don’t lose hope, keep your mind and

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