With this health condition, spinal tissue death is caused by some sort of blockage within an artery that supplies blood to your spinal cord. The resulting paralysis from a spinal stroke depends on where along your spinal cord you suffered the infarction. Essentially, all movement controlled below the blocked area will be affected.
Although the hallmark symptom of spinal cord infarction is the sudden onset of paralysis, you may experience some symptoms beforehand. These symptoms may include:
- back pain
- leg weakness
- leg numbness
- lower body aching
- loss of temperature sensation
- bladder dysfunction ~ incontinence, urine retention
For some, these warning symptoms may occur for mere minutes before the sudden onset of paralysis or evolve slowly over a period of time.
Any event that interrupts blood flow to your spinal cord can cause a spinal infarct. A variety of health conditions can be the underlying cause or increase your risk for a spinal stroke, like:
- blood clot
- aortic aneurysm
- transverse myelitis
- vascular malformations
- atherosclerosis of aorta
- decompression sickness
- severe, prolonged hypotension
- spinal tumor, abscess, hematoma
- degenerative spine disease ~ herniated disk, cervical stenosis
- risk associated with diabetes, lupus, meningitis, syphilis, multiple sclerosis
Frequently a spinal cord infarction is caused by arteriosclerosis.
There are no treatments that will reverse the spinal cord damage suffered from a spinal stroke. You may regain some degree of functioning once inflammation subsides. Your disability can be significant with a high risk of death caused by future:
- lung infection
- bladder infection
- pulmonary embolism
- severe skin ulcers due to inactivity & debilitation
Your sudden onset of paralysis may be permanent, leaving you paraplegic or quadriplegic. However, some do recover to varying degrees.