A traumatic spinal cord injury may happen because of a sudden blow or cut to the spine. A spinal cord injury often causes permanent loss of strength, sensation, and function below the site of the injury. Rehabilitation and assistive devices allow many people with spinal cord injuries to lead productive, independent lives. Treatments may help reduce symptoms and stabilize the spine.
The most common types of spinal injuries, including herniated discs, are the result of:
In some cases, pain related to your spine may be the result of degenerative disk disease, which is caused by worn-out spinal disks. Spinal injuries of all types, including herniated disks and degenerative disk disease, can be very serious and very painful.
Between each of your spine’s vertebrae are intervertebral discs, which act as "shock absorbers" for your spine. They are able to accomplish this goal successfully because they are comprised of fibers and have a soft, gel-like center.
If one of your intervertebral discs are torn, the gel-like center can be thrust into your spinal canal, resulting in a herniated or ruptured disc. What makes a herniated disc so painful is that can press against a nerve or even directly against your spinal cord. The affected nerve may become irritated and inflamed if the disc is leaking fluid, which will cause even more pain.
If your herniated discs are located in or near the middle of your back, the issue may be significantly more serious than a standard herniated disc. That is because this area of your spine, also referred to as the thoracic region, has a smaller spinal canal. As a result, there is not a lot of space around your spinal cord. Unfortunately, if the injury is severe and the herniated disc is placing pressure on the thoracic spinal cord, it may lead to paralysis below the waist.