Spinal Cord Injuries
Some things in life are inevitable – you cannot avoid them despite your best efforts and care. Sustaining serious injuries can be one of the most devastating events for a person. Catastrophic injuries can permanently alter a person’s life. One of the most catastrophic injuries is spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord injuries involve discolorations, severing, fractures and/or other kind of damage to spinal cord. This may result in conditions like partial paralysis, quadriplegia and paraplegia. The severity of the injury’s impact will depend on the nature of the damage to the spinal cord. A person can suffer from an incomplete spinal cord injury or a complete spinal cord injury. In case of an incomplete injury, there may be some type of mobility or sensation available below the injured area. The victim can partially or fully recover after from an incomplete spinal cord injury. However, if a person sustains a complete spinal cord injury, recovery will not be possible. They will suffer loss of function and immobility below the injured spinal cord forever.
Besides initial trauma, those with spinal cord injuries may also experience other complications like respiratory problems, neurogenic shock, pulmonary problems, pneumonia, and inflammation of spine, among others. They may require surgeries, intravenous fluids, drugs and other intensive treatments. Once stabilized, they’ll generally go through a long recovery period involving continual and extensive rehabilitative treatment. Physical therapists, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, and other specialists may be required for treatment and to help the victim recover.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
As discussed, a person can suffer a complete spinal cord injury or an incomplete spinal cord injury. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are complete spinal cord injuries. A triplegia victim suffers some degree of paralysis in their four limbs – the arms and legs. Degree of paralysis may vary depending on nature of injury, the severity of the injury and often on factors that haven’t been understood yet. Most doctors now use the term ‘tetraplegia’ for denoting this injury. Quadriplegia can be extremely severe and it can interfere with the victim ability to breathe.
Paraplegia victims are able to use both their arms but their legs are disabled to a certain degree, depending on the injury. Some paraplegic victims cannot move their legs at all. Others only suffer minor mobility problems, tingling in legs or decreased sensation in lower body.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries are less catastrophic. These include anterior cord syndrome, central cord syndrome and Brown-Sequard syndrome. With anterior cord syndrome, the victim will experience difficulty with movement. The central cord syndrome injury occurs when the spine’s central area is damaged. The victim’s arm may be paralyzed and they may suffer partial loss of functioning in their legs. Loss of fine motor skills can also result from central cord syndrome. In Brown-Sequard syndrome, one half of the spinal cord is damaged. This can lead to loss of proprioception, paralysis on the injured side and loss of pain on the opposite side.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
A few common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
Auto accidents are the major cause of spinal cord injuries. Statistics show that 50 percent of all spinal cord injuries result from automobile accidents. Although rare, spinal cord injuries can also result from acts of violence. Older people often become a victim of spinal cord injuries when they fall or slip. Spinal cord inflammation, infections, arthritis and cancer can also lead to spinal cord injuries. Furthermore, playing sports like football and basketball can lead to a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Victim of a spinal cord injury may experience a number of different symptoms. Getting immediate medical attention is essential if there is a chance that the victim has sustained spinal cord injury. The following are some common symptoms of a spinal cord injury:
- Loss of movement
- Change in fertility, sexual sensitivity and sexual function
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Altered or loss sensation including ability of feeling cold, heat and touch
- Spasms or exaggerated reflex activities
- Pain or intense stinging sensations
- Difficult breathing or coughing
Diagnosing Spinal Cord Injuries
After a catastrophic event like a car, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, the victim may experience numbness, back pain and other symptoms of spinal cord injuries. Oftentimes, X-rays of the injured areas are taken at the emergency room to determine the kind of treatment required. The problem with X-rays is that they can detect only the hard tissue injuries like fractures. If a person experiences symptoms of a spinal cord injury, they should seek consultation with an orthopedic doctor. Most often computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can identify spinal cord injuries.
Consult a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s mistake, it is essential for you to seek compensation for the damages. You can file a personal injury claim against the person responsible for your injury to recover compensation. With a personal injury claim, you may be able to receive compensation for loss of earnings/future earnings, medical bills, cost of medical care in the future and pain and suffering.
When you need to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for a spinal cord injury, seek help from Shiner Law Group. Our experienced attorneys know the nitty-gritty of spinal cord cases and they will collect as much evidence as possible to strengthen your position at the court. Compensation from the party responsible for your injury may help ease the burden of medical costs and other expenses associated with the spinal cord injury.