The spinal cord is an essential part of the body that provides strength and signals sensations. When it gets injured, it can interrupt many functions of the body. Spinal cord injuries often change the life of the victim significantly because it can alter just about every aspect of life, even mental and emotional aspects.
While medical advancements show promise at repairing spinal cord injuries, research is still ongoing, which means injury victims must live with the complications this ailment presents and undergo treatment and rehabilitation.
Victims of spinal cord injuries due to someone else’s neglect should seek counsel from a personal injury attorney to review their options and seek compensation for their injuries. Here’s a look at what you need to know about spinal cord injuries.
Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
The sooner you discover that you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, the better because it can allow you to seek out the treatment necessary to heal more completely.
There are two levels of severity for spinal cord injuries.
- Complete: patients lose all feeling and motor function below the location of the spinal cord injury. This means you won’t be able to feel or move your body in that area.
- Incomplete: patients who suffer incomplete injury to the spinal cord still have some sensory and motor function below the affected area. There are varying degrees of incomplete spinal cord injuries.
Some signs that you might be suffering from a spinal cord injury include the following:
- Severe back pain, or a feeling of pressure in your head, back, or neck
- Weakness or lack of coordination of any part of your body
- A tingling sensation in your hands, fingers, feet, or toes
- Inability to control your bladder or bowels
- Challenges with balance or walking
- Trouble breathing
- Twisting or odd positioning of the back or neck
You should always see a doctor when you’ve suffered serious trauma to your neck or head. This is how spinal cord injuries occur and should be treated immediately for best results. The time between injury and treatment is often crucial to ensuring the best outcome of the injury and limiting injury complications.
Spinal Cord Injury Common Causes
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries all relate to head or neck trauma. Here’s a look at some incidents you should see a doctor immediately following to rule out spinal cord injuries.
- Motor vehicle accidents: drivers and passengers in motor vehicle accidents often get thrown around violently due to the force of colliding with another vehicle or object. Car accidents account for approximately half of all spinal cord injuries annually.
- Falls: most commonly, falls cause spinal cord injuries in people who are 65 or older. However, a slip and fall or trip and fall scenario could impact anyone and lead to a spinal cord injury.
- Violence: knife and gunshot wounds are main culprits for violence-induced spinal injuries. But a major blow to the head or being forced to the ground at an awkward angle could also produce the injury.
- Sports/recreation: many sports involve physical collisions that can lead to a spinal cord injury. Activities like diving in shallow water can lead to serious injuries but so can contact sports like football and hockey.
- Diseases: sometimes spinal injuries are the result of arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, or inflammation within the spinal cord and have nothing to do with trauma or injury.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of someone else’s negligence – such as in the case of a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall – contact Stewart & Stewart. Our team will defend your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.