What is Syringomyelia?

Spinal cord trauma can lead to many different types of injuries to the spine and issues using various body parts. One issue that someone facing spinal cord trauma might experience is syringomyelia. If your loved one was involved in an accident that damaged their spinal cord, and you suspect that they could be dealing with syringomyelia, read on to learn more about this issue. Understanding what it is as well as its symptoms can give you the information that you need to get your loved one help.

Defining Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia is a condition where cysts form on a person’s spinal cord. When the cyst grows, it causes damage to the spinal cord. This can interrupt normal bodily functions and movements. This condition can be caused by injury to the spinal cord, brain abnormalities, inflammation in the spinal cord resulting from surgery or disease, and, of course, spinal cord injury.

When cysts related to syringomyelia grow, they can cause weakness, stiffness, and pain in different parts of the body, such as a person’s arms, legs, back, and shoulders. People facing this condition might not be able to experience pain normally, or might not feel cold. While this might not seem like a big issue, it can be dangerous for people not to experience pain or cold. This could mean that they do not notice when they are injured and do not seek medical attention for issues.

Common Symptoms

Sometimes, syringomyelia goes undiagnosed because certain people do not show any symptoms. If your loved one has had a recent spinal cord issue, such as an injury or a disease, watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Inability to feel physical pain
  • Inability to feel hot or cold
  • Weakness, pain, or stiffening of shoulders, back, legs, or arms
  • Facial numbness
  • Bladder and bowel function issues
  • Trouble walking
  • Scoliosis

If you notice any of these symptoms in your loved one, you should seek medical help. If they have syringomyelia, bringing them to a doctor means that they can receive treatment. Even if they do not face this condition, getting a loved one checked out after spinal cord trauma can help diagnose any other issues that they might face.

Treatment Options

Treatment will depend on your loved one’s particular situation. Certain types of medications and surgery are oftentimes common treatment options. However, if your loved one is not experiencing any symptoms, treatment might not be necessary at this time. A doctor can make this decision.

If surgery is recommended for your loved one, the goal of surgery will be to relieve pressure on their spinal cord. Surgery may take place in the brain to do this, or it may remove a cyst on the spine. Alternatively, a surgeon might try to drain the cyst of fluid in order to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

Medication is another common treatment option. Your loved one may be prescribed gabapentin or a similar medication. Antibiotics are usually also prescribed after surgery.

Physical therapy is another common treatment option, which can take place after surgery or in place of surgery.

Getting Help

If you need additional resources to help a loved one recover from syringomyelia, please feel free to contact my office. I can point you in the right direction.

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