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Brain and Spine Disorders: Everything You Need to Know

Brain and Spine Disorders: Everything You Need to Know

Brain and spinal cord disorders primarily affect a person’s central nervous system. However, because it affects the nervous system, the effects can also extend to other systems of the body and can potentially lead to permanent disability.

What Are Brain and Spine Disorders?

Brain and spine disorders refer to disorders that affect a person’s central nervous system. This also means that aside from affecting the brain and spine, the effects of these disorders can also extend to other organs and systems of the body.

It is also possible that certain brain and spine disorders can cause permanent disability. This is especially true in the case of spinal injury, brain damage, as well as any disorders that a person might have been born with.

Brain and spine disorders can include the following:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Brain stem death
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Febrile seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Mental health disorders
  • Migraine
  • Headaches
  • Sleep Disorders

Some central nervous system disorders are more mild, such as a headache or migraine, while others can be more serious such as multiple sclerosis, dementia, or stroke.

It is also possible for some disorders to affect both the brain and the spinal cord, while others affect just one. In particular, multiple sclerosis and ALS are disorders that affect both the brain and the spinal cord. In contrast, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia are disorders that affect only the brain.

What Are the Symptoms?

brain and spine disorders

The symptoms of central nervous system disorders can vary widely depending on what organs are affected, as well as the nature of the disorder. Some disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can cause cognitive decline, which results in memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and even personality changes.

Other disorders, such as multiple sclerosis or ALS can cause muscle spasms and difficulty moving. More serious problems such as stroke or damage to the spinal cord can lead to partial or even complete paralysis of the body.

Here are some of the possible symptoms of brain and spine disorders:

  • Intense headaches
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Numbness
  • Sudden pain
  • Difficulty moving
  • Twitching
  • Back pain
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Paralysis
  • Memory loss
  • Personality changes

It is possible for more serious disorders to start out with mild symptoms such as headache, or numbness, and progress to more serious problems. This is why it is important to be mindful of any symptoms you might be experiencing, and to not ignore any of them.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it would be best to get in touch with your doctor. Brain and spinal cord disorders can cause serious health problems and permanent disability, so it would be best to get it checked and treated as soon as possible.

Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of brain and spinal cord disorders can also vary depending on what type of disorder it is.

Here are some of the more common causes:

  • Infection
  • Damage or trauma to the brain or spinal cord
  • Tumors
  • Degeneration
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Loss of blood flow

Here are some things that can increase a person’s risk for brain and spinal cord disorders:

  • Hereditary
  • Genetic disorders
  • Birth defects
  • Working in a high-risk workplace
  • Drug abuse
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Old age
  • Gender

Prevention and Treatment

brain and spine disorders

When it comes to central nervous system disorders, it’s not always possible to prevent them. In the case of Alzheimer’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and other similar disorders, there really isn’t a way to outright prevent it.

But for other brain and spinal cord disorders, there are some things that you can do in order to lower your risk:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Prioritize eating fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as foods that are high in fiber. Lower your intake of sugars, fats, as well as animal protein, and try to avoid eating processed foods.
  • Engage in exercise daily. At least 30 minutes of exercise each day can help you maintain your good health, and can also have a positive effect on your brain and spinal cord.
  • If you work in a high-risk workplace, such as a construction site, be sure to follow the safety protocols. Wearing proper safety equipment and following safety guidelines can help prevent injuries to your brain and spine.
  • Whenever you are driving or riding in a car, be sure to wear your seatbelt. If you get into an accident, seatbelts can save your life and prevent serious injury to your brain and spinal cord.
  • Your brain requires adequate blood flow in order to function normally. So it would be best to focus on making sure that your circulatory system is healthy in order to avoid problems such as stroke, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
  • Keep your back straight, and maintain proper posture. Having bad posture can cause problems in your spine, and even affect blood flow.
  • If you feel any symptoms of brain and spinal cord disorders, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your physician. The sooner you can get treatment, the better your condition will be.

Key Takeaways

Your brain and spinal cord are very important parts of your body. This is why it would be best to be informed about what disorders can affect your brain and spine, as well as what you can do in order to lower your risk of these disorders.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Brain & Spine Foundation | What is a neurological problem?, https://www.brainandspine.org.uk/information-and-support/what-is-a-neurological-problem/, Accessed November 4, 2020

Overview of Nervous System Disorders | Johns Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/overview-of-nervous-system-disorders#:~:text=Disorders%20of%20the%20nervous%20system,-Disorders%20of%20the&text=Infections%2C%20such%20as%20meningitis%2C%20encephalitis,neuropathy%2C%20and%20Guillain%2DBarr%C3%A9%20syndrome, Accessed November 4, 2020

Overview of Spinal Cord Disorders – Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders – MSD Manual Consumer Version, https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/spinal-cord-disorders/overview-of-spinal-cord-disorders, Accessed November 4, 2020

About The Brain and Spinal Cord | Neurological Surgery | University of Pittsburgh, https://www.neurosurgery.pitt.edu/centers/neurosurgical-oncology/brain-and-brain-tumors/about, Accessed November 4, 2020

Neurological Disorders, Diseases & Conditions Treated | Cedars-Sinai, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/neurology-neurosurgery/conditions.html, Accessed November 4, 2020

Spinal Cord Diseases | MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/spinalcorddiseases.html, Accessed November 4, 2020

Brain, nerves and spinal cord | NHS inform, https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/brain-nerves-and-spinal-cord, Accessed November 4, 2020

Diseases of the Brain, Head and Neck, Spine 2020–2023 – NCBI Bookshelf, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554343/toc/?report=reader, Accessed November 4, 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Dec 04, 2020
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel