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Are you in pain due to a car wreck or an injury to your spine that was caused by someone else’s fault?
Are you concerned about where to go for proper treatment? Who will pay your medical bills, or how you are going to return to work or care for your family.
Many of our clients have had the same questions. Derek L. Hall, PC – Injury and Accident Attorneys have helped people just like you find the answers.
A spinal cord injury can be devastating, but it does not have to be the end of the world.
A spinal cord injury – damage to any part of the nerves at the spinal canal — often causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury.
A spinal cord injury may affect every aspect of your life. You might feel the effects of your injury mentally, emotionally and socially.
Spinal cord injuries can cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
Emergency signs and symptoms
Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury after an injury include:
- Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back.
- Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body.
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Difficulty with balance and walking.
- Impaired breathing after injury.
- An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back.
Spinal cord injuries can result from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.
A traumatic spinal cord injury can stem from a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae. It can also result from a gunshot or knife wound that penetrates and cuts your spinal cord.
Additional damage usually occurs over days or weeks because of bleeding, swelling, inflammation and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord.
A non-traumatic spinal cord injury can be caused by arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections or disk degeneration of the spine.
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States are:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. Auto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for almost half of new spinal cord injuries each year.
- Falls. A spinal cord injury after age 65 is most often caused by a fall.
- Acts Of Violence. About 12% of spinal cord injuries result from violent encounters, usually from gunshot wounds. Knife wounds also are common.
- Sports and Recreation Injuries. Athletic activities, such as impact sports and diving in shallow water, cause about 10% of spinal cord injuries.
- Diseases. Cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and inflammation of the spinal cord also can cause spinal cord injuries.
At first, changes in the way your body functions can be overwhelming. However, your rehabilitation team will help you develop tools to address the changes caused by the spinal cord injury, in addition to recommending equipment and resources to promote quality of life and independence. Areas often affected include:
Bladder Control. Your bladder will continue to store urine from your kidneys. However, your brain might not control your bladder as well because the message carrier (the spinal cord) has been injured. The changes in bladder control increase your risk of urinary tract infections. The changes may also cause kidney infections and kidney or bladder stones. During rehabilitation, you’ll learn ways to help empty your bladder.
Bowel Control. Although your stomach and intestines work much like they did before your injury, control of your bowel movements is often altered. A high-fiber diet might help regulate your bowels, and you’ll learn ways to help control your bowel during rehabilitation.
Pressure Injuries. Below the neurological level of your injury, you might have lost some or all skin sensations. Therefore, your skin can’t send a message to your brain when it’s injured by certain things such as prolonged pressure. This can make you more susceptible to pressure sores, but changing positions frequently — with help, if needed — can help prevent these sores. You’ll learn proper skin care during rehabilitation, which can help you avoid these problems.
Circulatory Control. A spinal cord injury can cause circulatory problems ranging from low blood pressure when you rise (orthostatic hypotension) to swelling of your extremities. These circulation changes can also increase your risk of developing blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolus. Another problem with circulatory control is a potentially life-threatening rise in blood pressure (autonomic dysreflexia). Your rehabilitation team will teach you how to address these problems if they affect you.
Respiratory System. Your injury might make it more difficult to breathe and cough if your abdominal and chest muscles are affected. Your neurological level of injury will determine what kind of breathing problems you have. If you have a cervical and thoracic spinal cord injury, you might have an increased risk of pneumonia or other lung problems. Medications and therapy can help prevent and treat these problems.
Bone Density. After spinal cord injury, there’s an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures below the level of injury.
Muscle Tone. Some people with spinal cord injuries have one of two types of muscle tone problems: uncontrolled tightening or motion in the muscles (spasticity) or soft and limp muscles lacking muscle tone (flaccidity).
Fitness and Wellness. Weight loss and muscle atrophy are common soon after a spinal cord injury. Limited mobility can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, placing you at risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A dietitian can help you eat a nutritious diet to sustain an adequate weight. Physical and occupational therapists can help you develop a fitness and exercise program.
Sexual Health. Men might notice changes in erection and ejaculation; women might notice changes in lubrication after a spinal cord injury. Physicians specializing in urology or fertility can offer options for sexual functioning and fertility.
Pain. Some people have pain, such as muscle or joint pain, from overuse of particular muscle groups. Nerve pain can occur after a spinal cord injury, especially in someone with an incomplete injury.
Depression. Coping with the changes a spinal cord injury brings and living with pain causes depression in some people.
If you have suffered an injury to your spinal cord, call Derek L. Hall, PC – Injury and Accident Attorneys at 601-202-2222 for a free consultation, or fill out our no-obligation case review request.
At Derek L. Hall, PC – Injury and Accident Attorneys, we don’t get paid unless you do. And remember, we get you more. SO CALL US TODAY.
Derek L. Hall, PC