Complete Guide about Spinal Stroke

Complete Guide about Spinal Stroke
Published : Feb 04, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 06, 2024

The way strokes occur in your brain, spinal strokes occur when there is a blockage of blood flow to the spine.

When there is an improper blood flow in your spinal cord, there is a lack of enough oxygen as well as nutrients.

As a result, cells in the spinal cord start to become damaged and even die.

Any disruption to the blood supply damages your spinal cord and averts it from communicating with the rest of your body.

It is important to know that the spine makes use of nerve impulses to communicate effectively with different parts of your body.

In serious cases of spinal stroke, the lack of communication can even lead to problems like paralysis and other issues.

The spinal cord is a section of your central nervous system (CNS) which also involves the brain.

Unlike other strokes, spinal strokes do not usually disrupt the blood supply to your brain.

The majority of spinal strokes are ischemic which means they result from blood clots in your blood vessels.

Less frequently, bleeding from ruptured blood vessels can lead to a spinal stroke. This type is known as hemorrhagic stroke.

Symptoms of spinal strokes

The symptoms of spinal strokes might differ from person to person as per the stroke in your spine.

Keep one thing in your mind, the seriousness of the damage will definitely influence the symptoms.

One of the main symptoms of a spinal stroke is extreme and sudden pain in your neck and back.

Some of the other symptoms of spinal strokes include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Difficulty in moving
  • Incontinence and loss of bladder control
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis

There are also certain cases in which spinal stroke leads to death.

Causes of Spinal Stroke

Due to changes in the shape of blood vessels, the majority of spinal strokes take place.

Blood vessel walls might thicken, causing the vessels to narrow and lead to serious problems.

However, this can even happen as a natural consequence of aging.

Below-stated is some factors that increase your chances of suffering from spinal stroke:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease or a family history of heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of exercise
  • Too much consumption of alcohol

All these factors put a lot of strain on your circulatory system and increase the chances of suffering from damaged vessels.

Remember high blood pressure might damage and weaken your blood vessels, increasing their chance of bleeding & rupture.

As a result, it leads to the problem of spinal stroke.

In some cases, problems with the heart or the aorta are also responsible for causing spinal strokes.

These issues include serious low blood pressure or a lack of blood flow through your aorta.

There are also some rare cases when tangled blood vessels lead to the issue of spinal stroke.

How to Diagnose spinal stroke?

In case, you suffer from a spinal stroke then you must seek immediate medical attention as well as a prompt diagnosis.

The doctor will ask the person about their symptoms and if required then a physical examination is also conducted.

Depending upon the examination, the doctor will look for common indicators with your spinal cord like weakness in your legs.

If the doctor suspects a spinal stroke then an MRI will be done.

An MRI is mainly done to know all other conditions that are responsible for damaging your spinal cord.

It is also easy to confirm the presence and location of a blockage or bleed with the help of an MRI.

How to treat spinal stroke?

The main aim of treatment is to treat the cause of the spinal stroke and decrease symptoms.

  • For treating a blood clot, your doctor will recommend prescription drugs antiplatelet, and anticoagulant medicines such as warfarin and aspirin.
  • Your doctor will also prescribe a medicine that will lower your blood pressure if the blood pressure is high.
  • In case you have bladder incontinence then the doctor might recommend using a urinary catheter.
  • For high cholesterol problems, the doctor will also recommend a medicine like statin in order to lower blood pressure.
  • If the spinal stroke is caused due to a tumor then corticosteroids are used for decreasing the swelling. The tumor is removed via surgery.
  • In case, you become paralyzed or lose sensation in some parts of the body then physical therapy is required.

As a result, the function of your muscles is preserved.

If you smoke then quit smoking because this will ultimately help in improving your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Always have a balanced and healthy diet that includes whole grains, fruits as well as vegetables.

Your recovery is completely dependent upon how much your spinal cord is affected.

Therefore, if you suffer from a spinal stroke then make sure you consult the doctor on time without making any delays.