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How is a spinal cord injury diagnosed?

A spinal cord injury is extremely serious, which is why an immediate diagnosis is essential. The symptoms of a spinal cord injury are not always immediately recognizable. This is why it's imperative to receive medical treatment if you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident, a fall or suffered any other type of trauma.

Some of the many tests that are used to diagnose a spinal cord injury include:

-- CT scan. This gives doctors a better idea of both the location and extent of the damage. Also, it can reveal other medical concerns, such as a blood clot.

-- MRI. Similar in many ways to a CT scan, it creates an image of the spine as a means of displaying injury and other abnormalities.

-- Spine x-ray. This test can be used to diagnose fractures, breaks or other similar damage to the spine.

-- Somatosensory evolved potential testing. Also known as magnetic stimulation, it used to determine if nerve signals are able to pass through the spinal cord.

When there is reason to believe that a spinal cord injury is present, it's important to receive an accurate and thorough diagnosis without delay. This ensures that the proper treatment is delivered in a timely manner.

It doesn't matter what caused your spinal cord injury. Make sure you're working with a medical team that is able to provide the immediate and long-term treatment you require. Along with this, don't hesitate to learn more about the cause of your accident, including if it was the result of a third party. In this case, you may be able to receive compensation to help pay for medical bills, future treatment and other expenses.

Source: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), "How is SCI diagnosed?," accessed Dec. 29, 2016

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