What is a Tethered Spinal Cord?

What is a Tethered Spinal Cord?

Tooba Pasha Waqar |Apr 8, 2021

Tethered Cord Syndrome

If you've never heard of tethered cord syndrome, it's likely because the condition is very rare, and thankfully so.

While this syndrome isn't typically dangerous, it can worsen if the condition is not seen. It can also cause permanent damage and diminish a person's ability to walk. But what is tethered cord syndrome?

In this article, we will briefly look at the symptoms of tethered cord syndrome, the causes, and the best ways to treat this neurological disease.

What is Tethered Cord Syndrome?

In this condition, the cord in tethered cord refers to the spinal cord.

The spinal cord is an essential component of the human body. It carries messages from the brain to all the other parts of the body through its bundle of nerves.

It occurs in a baby while it is in the womb. During development, the baby's spinal cord grows at the same pace as the other bones around it and is of the same length. But as the baby grows, the spine grows out.

But, in some cases, the spine becomes "tethered" when the cord's tail end becomes tied to the end of the body's spinal column. The spinal cord and the spine itself are different parts of the entire spine; remember that.

When the child is born, the tethered cord prevents the spinal cord from moving within the column. This doesn't affect the child as much until they start growing. Because the spinal cord cannot stretch, they start experiencing back pain and trouble walking.

Adults With Tethered Cord Syndrome

While some conditions typically become apparent in adulthood, this syndrome is not one of them.
Tethered cord syndrome is rare in adults and only occurs if the condition is not discovered or diagnosed during childhood.

Acquired tethered cord is also very rare among adults but can occur if any fatty mass at the spine's base becomes attached to the spinal cord's tip. This fatty mass can only develop if a patient has lipomyelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida.

What Are the Causes of Tethered Cord Syndrome?

There is no definitive cause of tethered cord syndrome. What we do know is that tethered cord occurs from birth with some children, and that a child with spina bifida may also have tethered cord syndrome.
Within the body, tethered cord syndrome occurs when the spinal cord end gets attached to something that doesn't let it move. What catches hold of it may include:

  • Fat: Fat that grows around the spinal cord can catch it and grab hold.
  • Bone: A piece of the spinal bone can attach to the spinal cord base.
  • Scarring: If your child has back surgery, scars that form around the cord's bottom end can grab the spinal cord.
  • Tight Ligament: This tight ligament is known as the filum terminale. This ligament is as thin as a string and is stretchy, but when tightened, it can catch and tether the spinal cord.

What Are the Symptoms of Tethered Cord Syndrome?

The most common symptoms of tethered cord syndrome include:

  • Lack of bowel control: The child may have problems controlling their bowels because the nerves cannot stretch as much as they should.
  • Lack of bladder control: For the same reason, because the child's spinal cord cannot stretch, the child may not feel when they want to urinate and would wet themselves without knowing.
  • Back pain: The child may experience lower back pain and limited movement.
  • Curved spine: Because the spinal cord is attached at the base, this may pull the spine down, causing the spine to curve.
  • Trouble walking: While the child may not have issues walking before, they may begin experiencing issues walking as they grow up.

Diagnosing and Treating Tethered Cord Syndrome

If a parent notices these symptoms, their first step should be to take the child to the doctor. If the doctor suspects tethered cord syndrome, they will ask to run some tests to get a better picture of the child's spinal cord.

They may run an MRI and get a urology consultation to check if the child's bladder is affected. If results come back positive, the doctor will recommend surgery.

Treating Tethered Cord Syndrome With Surgery

While surgery may sound intimidating, it is necessary.

Surgery on the spine to correct a tethered cord is known as a laminectomy. And while this is major surgery, it's also common, so there's no need to worry. The laminectomy is compulsory if you want your child's spine fixed. If this operation is not done, it may make your child's condition even worse and result in permanent damage to the spine.

The Surgery Procedure

The patient will be given a general anesthetic, so they won't feel a thing.

During the operation, the doctor will make an incision on the patient's back and cut whatever element is tethering the cord. Once its hold is released and the cord returns to the spinal column, the surgeon will close up the incision.

This surgery takes three hours and requires a fair bit of surgical skill, so don't be concerned if your child doesn't come out within an hour.

After Care

The child will receive pain medication and fluids through IV and will be required to lie flat on their back for 2–3 days. Moving the child will be the nurse's responsibility, so you won't have to perform much care except feeding them.

Typically, children stay in the hospital for about a week, but that can vary depending on how severe their tethered cord was. Once the doctor feels comfortable knowing that the child can sit up, they'll allow you to take the child home.

Closing Thoughts

As a parent, you will worry about your child being in pain because of the tethered cord.

But, if you keep an eye on their health and report to the doctor if anything seems amiss, you may be able to catch this condition in time.

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Planning on Getting Botox? Here’s What to Know

Staff Writer | April 8, 2021

Before the Needle Although many people have heard about Botox, few people know what it actually is. So, what are Botox injections? Many people would be surprised to learn that it actually is a drug derived from a neurotoxin created by a specific bacterium, the Clostridium botulinum. This is the same toxin that causes botulism, a life-threatening form of food poisoning. When ingested in its natural form, Botox can cause paralysis that spreads through the body until it eventually works its way to the breathing muscles, causing respiratory failure. This is why it is important to educate yourself before considering Botox injections. Why Do People Get Botox? Although this is a toxin, it is safe to use in small doses for medical use. Doctors often use the substance cosmetically. It is probably best known as an anti-wrinkle agent used to treat fine lines and signs of aging. Most commonly, it is used to treat wrinkles in the neck or face. Some people also get Botox injections to minimize their forehead lines. [youmaylike] In addition to smoothing skin to give it a more youthful appearance, it serves other medical purposes. Some patients use it to treat severe underarm sweating, migraines, uncontrollable blinking, overactive bladder and strabismus (misaligned eyes). How Does Botox Work? Botox causes paralysis. While this can be fatal in large, targeted doses, it is the property that helps with treatment. It acts locally, upon the injection site where it will weaken or paralyze targeted muscles. This is done as the neurotoxin attaches to nerve ending and blocks impulses from coming through. Instead of contracting as normal, the injected tissues will remain relatively frozen. Reducing the pulling of the skin is what makes the skin look more youthful. This signal-blocking property is also assisted with the other medical applications of Botox. It is important to realize that these are not the same as a filler. How Long Does Botox Last? The effects of Botox do not last forever. After a while, the signals will begin to pass through again. Procedures are expected to have a visual effect that lasts three to six months. Botox will not lose its effect overnight. Rather, you will experience a gradual decline in results as the muscles slowly regain their movement. The effects of your first session will wear off faster than the later sessions. Your first session is expected to last around three months where the later sessions will gradually last up to six months. Is Botox Safe? Under controlled medical environments, Botox injection procedures are considered low-risk. Most procedures are carried out safely and effectively with little side effects. The side effects one does experience are normally what is expected from any sort of injection procedure. This would be some temporary redness, bleeding or bruising at the injection site. In rare cases, one may experience a headache in the first two days after the procedure or temporary drooping. With this being said, there are certain situations where you should avoid getting Botox injections. You should not undergo treatments if you: Are 65 years of age or older, or under 18 years old. Have breathing problems. Have bleeding problems. Are allergic to or have sensitivities to Botox products. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you are currently taking as there may be some interactions that could be dangerous. If you immediately experience signs of an allergic reaction upon the treatment, seek medical help immediately. To reduce any of the potential complications, it is important that you thoroughly research the performing physician. You need to make sure you are going to someone who knows what they are doing and has an adequate environment to perform hygienically and legally. It is not worth the risk to seek other methods. Does Botox Hurt? Botox procedures use very tiny needles. While injections are associated with some pain, the size of the needles keeps this pain at a minimum. Botox injections are generally preceded by some sort of anesthetic treatment to numb the pain. This is often done with a topical anesthetic cream or a cold pack. Most people report minimal to no pain at all. The Cost of Botox The cost of Botox will vary greatly depending on the specifications of your procedure. Some facilities will charge you by the area covered, but more often they charge you per unit of Botox used. On average, you will pay about $20 per unit. As the average treatment is about 20 to 60 units on average, you will likely pay between $500 and $800. The number of units used in a session will vary greatly depending on the space that you want to be covered. The bigger the area, the more units you will need to pay to achieve results. When it comes to cosmetic procedures, insurance will likely not pay for any of the costs. You can talk with your insurance provider to find out if they offer financial compensation for non-cosmetic procedures.

The Top 10 Vitamins and Supplements for Women During Menopause

Danielle Kemp | April 8, 2021

Helping With This Natural Phase for Older Women Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life and marks the end of her reproductive years. While it brings significant hormonal changes, it doesn’t have to be a time of discomfort or distress. By incorporating specific vitamins and supplements into their daily routine, women can manage the uncomfortable symptoms that come with menopause. Read on as we discuss the 10 best vitamins and supplements that can support women during this transitional phase. 1. Calcium and Vitamin D During menopause, there is a natural decrease in estrogen levels. This can lead to bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D are crucial for maintaining good bone health. Calcium supports the formation and maintenance of strong bones, while vitamin D aids in calcium absorption. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens and fortified foods. 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Is An Epsom Salt Bath Good for UTIs?

Pamela Bandelaria | April 8, 2021

A Soak Could Help You Find Some Relief Urinary tract infections are one of the most common outpatient consultations in the United States. They are one of the most common causes of fever in the young and elderly and can cause urinary incontinence in women. Yearly, around 250,000 cases of kidney infections or pyelonephritis occur among women in the United States. Costs for the diagnosis and management of urinary tract infections in the United States can reach up to a total of $2-3 billion dollars a year. It might seem like a simple infection, but it can be really costly when you think of it from that scale. It is an essential infection to treat because it can lead to serious complications such as sepsis and renal damage if left untreated. That is why a lot of other remedies are being tested to see if they can alleviate symptoms of urinary tract infections. 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Epsom salts are commonly used to relieve sore muscles, stiff joints, itching, skin irritation, and sunburn and are used as relief for headaches or foot pain. Its uses in the human body are varied, and it has been found to provide relief for various ailments, which include urinary tract infections. How is an Epsom Salt Bath Good for UTIs? What Benefits do Epsom Salt Baths Have? Epsom salts provide several benefits for treating urinary tract infections. The primary benefit of using Epsom salt baths for bladder infections or urinary tract infections is to relieve pain. Epsom salt baths can help relieve pain and discomfort associated with UTIs. UTIs present with a burning sensation, pain while urinating, and cloudy urine. The warm, calming nature of Epsom salt baths has been shown to help relieve this. [youmaylike] If you soak in an Epsom salt bath, it can be helpful to reduce inflammation as well. Because they are rich in magnesium, they can help cleanse the urinary tract and aid in the healing process. The increased concentration of magnesium sulfate is believed to help change the environment in the urinary tract, which can lead to conditions unfavorable for bacteria to grow. It can help prevent bacteria from growing or multiplying when you soak in an Epsom salt bath and has a disinfectant property. Epsom salt baths can also improve the circulation of blood in the body. It can cause dilation of the blood vessels leading to improved blood flow, which also promotes the passage of cells that help in the body’s immunity. Epsom salt baths provide an overall relaxing and calming experience that can leave you feeling detoxified as well. Are Epsom Salt Baths the Answer to UTIs? Although Epsom salt baths may relieve urinary tract infection symptoms, there is not enough evidence to recommend using Epsom salts over established treatments like antibiotics. Epsom salt baths are currently home remedies that can be adjuncts to treatment but cannot be used to replace the treatment of urinary tract infections with antibiotic medications. In order to treat the infection, you should still take an antibiotic regimen prescribed by your physician. Are Epsom Salt Baths Risk-Free? Do Epsom Salt Baths Have Any Side Effects? Generally, Epsom salt baths are safe and don’t have a lot of serious complications. However, you still need to make sure that Epsom salt baths are safe for you. The most common side effects of Epsom salt baths include allergic reactions. So if you have an allergy to Epsom salt, it is better that you avoid this. It can also aggravate pain or discomfort if you have an open wound or breaks or scratches in the skin. If you have these, stay away from Epsom salt baths to avoid further complications. How Do You Prepare an Epsom Salt Bath? The general way to prepare an Epsom salt bath is to dissolve Epsom salt in warm water. Epsom salt is easy to find and can easily be bought in health and grocery stores. Recommendations include dissolving 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water to create a water-soak bath. It is important not to put too much to avoid irritation and drying of the skin. Let the Epsom salt dissolve in the water, which can take about a few minutes. If you have a bathtub, you can prepare it to submerge and soak in it. However, this can be done as you shower as well. When you have a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection, you can do a water soak for 15-20 minutes to help relieve symptoms. Rinse after every water soak. This can be done daily or on an average of 2-3 times per week. Doing this soak gives ample time in providing relief until the antibiotics start doing their work and control further growth and multiplication of bacteria, completely eliminating symptoms such as pain. If you think you have a urinary tract infection, consult your physician for an evaluation. Further, you should seek medical attention if you are experiencing any serious side effects from using Epsom salt baths. There are no studies that show that using an Epsom salt bath for UTIs will prevent or cure a urinary tract infection, so it is still important to go to the doctor for proper management. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of a urinary tract infection.