Spinal Shock Versus Neurogenic Shock

Spinal shock is a state where loss of motor and sensory as well as total loss of reflexes after an injury or trauma happens. Usually an injury can damaged a spinal cord which often results to loss of all those sensory and motor sensations. It also causes loss of all reflexes for a period of time.

Spinal shock starts after a few minutes from injury though it may take several hours for the effects to fully manifests. When one is in spinal shock, its nervous system fails to transmit signals from the brain to organs in the body since they are not routed by the spinal cord. Spinal shock patients usually recover within twenty-four hours although in some cases it may last for several weeks. And in rare instances, spinal cord can last for several months.

When the nervous system fails to transmit signals from the brain the end result is loss sensation, movements and other body functions. Complete loss of sensation and movement just below the level of injury will make it hard to point out the severity or extent of the injury. The only way to find out is to wait for the patient to recover from spinal shock. Over the first few weeks functions may improve thus it is at this time that your doctor can tell the extent of the injury and can predict recovery or even can tell whether your paralysis is just temporary or permanent.

Treatment can start with your healthcare provider making an evaluation of your condition. It is important that medical care is given within the first eight hours right after the injury since patients recovery depend on it

Neurogenic Shock

This is a type of shock that results from hypotension and sometimes with bradycardia. Neurogenic shock can result from severe damage in the central nervous system which often includes the brain, cervical and thoracic cord. In short the trauma or injury brings sudden loss of sympathetic stimulation of the blood vessels thus causing it to relax resulting to quick decrease in blood pressure (FALL 1985).

Neurogenic shock can be very dangerous and can lead to serious complication like organ dysfunction and even death if not promptly identified and treated. Treatment often includes fluid, in fact it is the initial treatment for the shock. Dopamine is often given alone or in combination with other medication like atropine, vasopressin and certain vasopressor. Avoid the use of phenylephrine since it can worsen bradycardia which often seen in patients who suffers neurogenic shock.

Spinal shock should not be confused with neurogenic shock since spinal shock is not of circulatory nature. If suspicions of spinal shock or neurogenic shock are present then do not waste time and call for medical assistance immediately.