Symptoms of a spinal disease differ across patients, but may include pain, numbness, loss of sensation and muscle weakness. Symptoms may occur around the spine and in other areas such as the arms and legs, according to the MedlinePlus website.
Diseases of the spinal cord include tumors, infections such as meningitis and polio, inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, and degenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy, notes the MedlinePlus website. Spinal cord injury is most commonly the result of an accident or acts of violence, such as gunshot wounds, but can also be caused by complications in surgery or by diseases such as polio, spina bifida and Friedreich's ataxia, states Medtronic.com.
Although damage to the spinal cord can’t be reversed, researchers continue to work on new treatments such as prostheses and medications that promote regeneration or improve function of nerve cells, notes MayoClinic.org. Treatment may include rehabilitation, medications to control pain and muscle spasticity, and medical devices to increase autonomy. New medical devices that can assist patients in gaining independence include electric wheelchairs that can climb stairs or travel over rough terrains, computer adaptations such voice recognition, electronic aids to daily living, electrical stimulation devices to stimulate and control arm and leg muscles, and robotic gait training.