The human spine being explained to a patient

The Role of the Spine in Your Body and What to do if it Gets Injured

The nervous system is in charge of sending and receiving signals throughout the body. It includes the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves that connect them. When something goes wrong with the nervous system, it can cause many problems, including pain, weakness, numbness, and difficulty moving.

The spinal cord plays a vital role in all the nervous system parts. Here’s what you need to know about the spine and what you can do when it gets injured.

The Human Spine

The human spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, or bones, that are stacked on top of each other. In between these vertebrae are cushions called discs. The spine runs from the base of the skull to the lower back and is connected to the ribs.

The spinal cord is a long, thin bundle of nerves running through the spine’s middle. It carries signals between the brain and the rest of the body and controls many essential functions, such as movement, sensation, and heart rate.

It’s protected by the vertebrae, which are held together by ligaments and muscles. In addition, three layers of tissue called meninges surround the spinal cord and protect it from injury. However, the spine is still a very delicate structure, and even a slight injury can cause serious problems. When it’s injured, it can result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and other neurological problems.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.

  • Complete : A complete spinal cord injury is when the cord is completely severed or damaged so that signals can’t travel between the brain and the body below the point of injury. This type of injury is often fatal.
  • Incomplete : An incomplete spinal cord injury is when the cord is partially damaged, and some signal transmission is still possible. This type of injury can result in partial or complete paralysis below the point of injury. It can also cause other neurological problems, such as loss of sensation, weakness, and problems with movement.

These injuries can happen for various reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons why the spine gets injured and multiple treatments for them.

A man experiencing whiplash after car accident

Car Accidents

Car accidents are some of the country’s most common forms of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 6 million car accidents in the United States every year.

About 20 percent of all car accident victims will suffer from spinal cord injury. The most common type of car accident-related spinal cord injury is whiplash when the head and neck are suddenly forced forward and back. This can damage the ligaments, muscles, and discs in the spine.

Car accident victims often seek treatment from a chiropractor. Car accident chiropractors are health care professionals who treat musculoskeletal problems, such as back and neck pain. They use various techniques, including spinal manipulation, to treat their patients.

Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation is a type of therapy used to treat back and neck pain. It involves using the hands to apply pressure to the spine to realign the vertebrae.

Spinal manipulation treats various conditions, such as lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches. It’s also been shown to improve range of motion and reduce inflammation.

However, spinal manipulation can also be dangerous. In rare cases, it can cause strokes, herniated discs, or other serious problems. One way to treat spinal manipulation is to get it checked once you start experiencing your body performance. The manipulation can be corrected the moment the problem has been found.

Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are another common cause of spinal cord injury. About half of all spinal cord injuries happen to young athletes. The most common type of sports-related spinal cord injury is a concussion.

A concussion is a brain injury that happens when the head is hit or jolted. Concussions can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the brain and lead to severe problems, such as memory loss, sleep problems, and depression.

If you suspect that you have a concussion, it’s essential to see a doctor right away. Treatment for concussions usually involves relaxation. You may also need to take medication to help with the symptoms.


Surgery can be one of the reasons why your spine gets injured. Sometimes, it might be the only way to treat a spinal cord injury.

However, surgery is often risky and can cause complications, such as infection, blood clots, and nerve damage. Therefore, you should only consider surgery if your doctor thinks it’s the best treatment option.


After a spinal cord injury, rehabilitation is often necessary to help you recover function and mobility. Rehabilitation typically begins in the hospital and continues at home or in a rehabilitation center.

The goal of rehabilitation is to help you regain as much function and independence as possible. It usually involves physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Recovery from a spinal cord injury is often a long and slow process. It requires patience, hard work, and determination.

Final Thoughts

The spine is a vital part of your body. It’s responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body. When it’s injured, it can result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and other neurological problems.

Thankfully, there are various ways to treat spinal injuries. Utilizing these options can improve your quality of life and live a healthy and active lifestyle after the injury.

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