Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 15, 2014
As we’ve discussed previously, the spinal column is filled with nerves. In fact, the spine acts as a channel through which the nerves pass, from the brain to the other areas of the body. Injuries to the spine are most serious when they impact these nerves, since the nerves are responsible for our body’s ability to feel and move the body parts (hands, feet, etc.). Nerve fibers are incredibly complex. Depending on the injury, they may be able to grow back, or they may be severed entirely. In this blog post, we are going to delve into spinal nerve fibers and talk about how they can regenerate after an injury to the spine.
The nervous system is divided into two parts:
- The Central Nervous System – comprised of your brain and spinal cord.
- The Peripheral Nervous System – comprised of pretty much all your other body parts.
Nerves in the peripheral nervous system are much more likely to regenerate than those in the central nervous system. Essentially, if a nerve in the spine is completely severed, it will not grow back. That said, if the nerve is only injured, there are treatment methods to correct the issue before the damage becomes permanent.
The biggest question that spinal cord injury patients have is “will my nerves re-grow and how long will it take?” In other words – “will I regain feeling and mobility in my affected limb or appendage?” These are excellent and important questions. Unfortunately, there is not quick and easy answer. Nerve regeneration is a very case-by-case thing that depends on a variety of factors specific to each patient’s situation. Two patients with the exact same injury at the exact same nerve level may have vastly different nerve re-growth outcomes.
Depending on the extent of your injury or condition, spine surgery may be a useful tactic to prevent nerve damage from becoming permanent. If spinal nerves are pinched or compressed by surrounding structures, a minimally invasive spinal decompression can free up the nerve by removing the protruding vertebra or disc.
Whatever your situation, the best thing you can do is partner with a skilled spine specialist that you trust, and discuss the best treatment plan for your injury.