Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are among the most severe and life-altering injuries a person can experience. They can lead to significant impairment, affecting motor, sensory, and autonomic functions below the level of injury. This article provides a comprehensive overview of spinal cord injuries, including their symptoms, causes, medical treatments, and alternative therapies such as massage. We will also explore the benefits of chiropractic care in managing spinal cord injuries and introduce the Zone Technique, a specialized chiropractic approach that may offer the best solution for addressing the root causes and promoting healing.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a vital part of the central nervous system, transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Damage to the spinal cord can disrupt this communication, leading to a range of physical and neurological impairments.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

  • Definition: A spinal cord injury occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord resulting in a loss of function, such as mobility or sensation.
  • Severity: SCIs can be classified as complete or incomplete. A complete injury results in total loss of function below the injury site, while an incomplete injury results in partial loss of function.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

The symptoms of spinal cord injuries vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Loss of Movement: Partial or complete loss of movement in the arms, legs, and torso.
  • Loss of Sensation: Reduced or complete loss of sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch.
  • Loss of Bowel or Bladder Control: Difficulty or inability to control bowel and bladder functions.
  • Exaggerated Reflex Activities: Spasms or exaggerated reflexes, including muscle stiffness.
  • Pain or Intense Stinging Sensations: Pain or abnormal sensations caused by nerve damage.
  • Breathing Difficulties: Difficulty breathing, especially with injuries to the upper spinal cord.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can result from various traumatic and non-traumatic events. Understanding these causes is crucial for prevention and effective treatment.

1. Traumatic Causes

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: The leading cause of SCIs, accounting for nearly half of all new cases each year.
  • Falls: Particularly common among older adults, falls can result in serious spinal injuries.
  • Violence: Gunshot wounds and other forms of violence can lead to SCIs.
  • Sports and Recreational Activities: High-impact sports and activities, such as football and diving, can cause spinal injuries.
  • Industrial Accidents: Accidents at work, especially in high-risk industries, can lead to SCIs.

2. Non-Traumatic Causes

  • Diseases: Conditions such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and infections can cause spinal cord damage.
  • Congenital Disorders: Birth defects like spina bifida can result in spinal cord dysfunction.
  • Degenerative Conditions: Conditions like degenerative disc disease can lead to gradual spinal cord damage.

Medical Treatments

Treating spinal cord injuries involves managing immediate medical emergencies, ongoing rehabilitation, and long-term care to maximize function and quality of life.

1. Emergency Medical Care

  • Stabilization: Immobilizing the spine to prevent further damage.
  • Surgery: Surgical intervention to remove bone fragments, foreign objects, herniated discs, or fractured vertebrae compressing the spine.
  • Medication: Administering medications to reduce inflammation and prevent further damage.

2. Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is crucial for maximizing function and independence after an SCI. It may include:

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen muscles, improve mobility, and enhance coordination.
  • Occupational Therapy: Training to help individuals perform daily activities and use assistive devices.
  • Speech Therapy: For those with injuries affecting speech and swallowing.
  • Psychological Counseling: Support to address emotional and psychological challenges associated with SCIs.

3. Medications

Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms and complications, including:

  • Pain Relievers: To manage chronic pain and discomfort.
  • Antispasmodics: To control muscle spasms and stiffness.
  • Antidepressants: To address depression and anxiety associated with SCIs.

4. Assistive Devices

  • Wheelchairs: Manual or electric wheelchairs to aid mobility.
  • Braces and Orthotics: Devices to support weakened or paralyzed limbs.
  • Adaptive Equipment: Tools and devices to assist with daily activities.

5. Surgical Interventions

  • Spinal Fusion: To stabilize the spine and prevent further injury.
  • Decompression Surgery: To relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

Alternative Treatments

In addition to conventional medical treatments, several alternative therapies can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for individuals with SCIs.

1. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help alleviate symptoms by:

  • Improving Circulation: Enhanced blood flow can promote healing and reduce muscle tension.
  • Reducing Muscle Tension: Relaxing the muscles and tissues can decrease pain and improve mobility.
  • Promoting Relaxation: Reducing stress and anxiety can help manage pain and support overall well-being.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate nerves and muscles, potentially reducing pain and promoting healing.

3. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those involving the spine and joints. Chiropractors use various techniques to adjust the spine and other joints to improve alignment, reduce nerve compression, and enhance overall health.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

  • Non-Invasive: Chiropractic adjustments are a non-surgical treatment option.
  • Pain Relief: Many patients experience significant pain relief after chiropractic treatments.
  • Improved Function: Chiropractic care can improve mobility and function, reducing the impact of SCIs.
  • Holistic Approach: Chiropractors often address overall health, including nutrition and lifestyle factors, which can contribute to better outcomes.

The Zone Technique: A Specialized Chiropractic Approach

While typical chiropractic care offers numerous benefits for managing spinal cord injuries, there is a specialized technique known as the Zone Technique that may provide the best results for eliminating symptoms and addressing the root cause.

What is the Zone Technique?

The Zone Technique is a chiropractic method developed by Dr. Peter Goldman. It focuses on balancing six systems within the body, which Dr. Goldman refers to as “zones”: the glandular, eliminative, nervous, digestive, muscular, and circulatory systems. The theory is that imbalances in these zones can lead to various health issues, including spinal cord injuries.

How Does the Zone Technique Work?

  1. Assessment: The chiropractor assesses the patient’s zones by palpating specific points on the head.
  2. Zone Balancing: Based on the assessment, the chiropractor performs adjustments to specific areas of the spine and body to restore balance to the affected zones.
  3. Follow-Up: Regular follow-up sessions help maintain balance and address any recurring issues.

Why the Zone Technique is Effective

  • Holistic Approach: By addressing multiple systems in the body, the Zone Technique aims to treat the root cause of symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves.
  • Personalized Care: Each treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific imbalances, providing a customized approach to healing.
  • Comprehensive Healing: By restoring balance to the body’s systems, the Zone Technique can promote overall health and prevent future issues.


Spinal cord injuries are severe and life-altering, requiring a multifaceted approach to treatment and management. Understanding the potential causes and available treatments is crucial for effectively addressing these injuries. While medical treatments and alternative therapies such as massage can provide relief, chiropractic care offers a non-invasive and holistic approach that can significantly improve outcomes.

Among the various chiropractic techniques, the Zone Technique stands out as a comprehensive method that addresses the root causes of spinal cord injuries by balancing the body’s systems. By considering this specialized approach, individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries may find the most effective and lasting relief from their symptoms, ultimately leading to improved function and overall well-being.

Are You Ready to Heal?