10 Common Complications of Spinal Injuries


Our spine and nervous system are absolutely critical to our health as they control every single organ and function in the human body. Because of this, spinal injuries can be devastating in more ways than just the sensation of pain or numbness. According to a recent study done by The World Journal of Orthopaedics, spinal trauma, no matter how small, can cause a wide range of secondary conditions in our body.

WHY? Well, let’s take a look at the pictures below…


It’s clear to see that it’s our nerves that connect our brain with every of our part of our body. If you think of the nerves like the electrical wiring that powers your body, you can understand that pressure or disruption of that electrical signal leads to miscommunication and dysfunction. Below is a list of some of the unwanted effects of spinal trauma:

Bowel Control: The organs of the digestive system (stomach, intestines, etc) may continue to function, but control of bowel movements is often altered or even lost.

Blood Clots: Blood clotting is a concern for many spine injury sufferers as immobility causes reduced blood flow through the veins.

Pneumonia or Asthma: Both are common long-term health consequences because the lungs and muscles associated with breathing are often weakened, especially with mid-back (thoracic) injury.

Autonomic Dysreflexia: This condition occurs when a stimulus below the injury site cannot be transmitted to the brain normally leading to irregular movements or issues with coordination and balance.

Incontinence: The bladder can continue to store urine but the brain may no longer be able to control the bladder because of neurological interference between the two organs.

Circulatory Issues: Spine injuries can result in circulatory system problems like low blood pressure, swelling, or irregular heart beat.

Respiratory Distress: The level or nerve injury will determine complications like wheezing, chest pains, and more.

Muscle Tone: Patients who suffer spinal cord trauma will often present with irregular muscle tone, muscle spams, or even paralysis.

Overall Wellness: Spine injuries often restrict mobility resulting in a more sedentary lifestyle which can lead to heart disease, degeneration, and cardiovascular disease.

Sexual Health: Spinal injury can affect the reproductive system and disrupt normal sexual function, fertility, and sexual drive.

The health of our spine and nervous system should never be overlooked!

-WORLD JOURNAL OF ORTHOPEDICS, Sezer, N. Akkus, S. Chronic complications of spinal cord injury. Jan 2015 p. 24-33