Spinal Cord Injury

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury

Your spinal cord spans the entire length of your back. It’s length alone allows for many possible sites for injuries, each with their own symptoms and consequences

The list above is not an exhaustive collection of symptoms, however. The most severe cases of spinal cord injury can result in total paralysis below the point of injury. This results in conditions that we refer to as paraplegia (loss of bodily function in the lower body), tetraplegia (loss of bodily function in three limbs), and quadriplegia (loss of bodily function in all four limbs).

Here at the Advanced Spine Center, Dr. Charles A. Gatto, M.D. specializes in treating individuals with advanced cases of spinal trauma. Whether your condition requires pain management, conservative therapies, or minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Gatto and his acclaimed colleagues will work with you to establish an effective and innovative treatment plan.

Steps to Addressing Spinal Cord Injury

Depending upon the severity of your injury, different treatment methodologies will be recommended to address your pain. Often with acute spinal cord injuries, there will be an immediate trip to the emergency room following the damaging event. It is here that doctors will initially (and emergently) address the needs of the individual, inducing immobility, ensuring proper breathing, administering emergency medications to reduce inflammation, and utilizing imaging techniques to locate the exact site of injury. Emergency surgery can be used when necessary to remove any bone or other materials that are compressing the spine.

If the injury is less emergent, or occurs slowly over time, it is still important to seek immediate medical attention before the condition can worsen. Your physician will most likely obtain your full medical history, including your past family history as well as your personal medical history. In addition, your doctor will require a full account of the event that caused the trauma. Your appointment may also involve a physical examination to evaluate the location of the injury, as well as to assess any sensory effects to the extremities of the body. Finally, imaging techniques such as MRIs and CT scans will most likely be used to examine the location of the injury and assess any spinal fractures, breaks, compressions, or slips.

Adult Scoliosis Treatment Options


For those who are dealing with a traumatic spinal cord injury, a laminotomy or laminectomy may be necessary to remove pressure from the spinal cord. A laminectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the lamina, or the posterior portion of a spinal vertebra. Read more...

Spinal Fusion Surgery

A spinal fusion is a procedure that involves the use of mechanical plates and screws that will be surgically attached to the damaged vertebrae. These devices will bond with bones during the healing process, with the goal creating a sturdy vertebral structure after healing. Read more...


Fractured vertebrae can be a primary cause of spinal cord compression. During a kyphoplasty, a balloon is inserted into the fracture. When inflated, the balloon pushes vertebral pieces back into place and cement is injected into the cavity to maintain the space. Read more...

Conservative Therapies

A variety of pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, or steroidal medications may be administered to cope with the pain. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, exercise, and psychological counseling may also be needed during the recovery process.