About Spinal Cord Injuries
Every year, there are approximately 8,000 diagnosed cases of new injuries to the spinal cord. Over 80% of those 8,000 diagnosed cases are men who are between the ages of 16-30. In the United States, there are up to 450,000 people that are living with a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord runs through the backbone and is made up of a nerve bundle.
The most common causes of spinal cord damage are caused from:
- Gunshot Wounds
- Knife Wounds
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Sports Injuries
The nerve network that makes up the spinal cord transmits and receives signals from the brain and controls the body’s movements. When the spinal cord is damaged it can cause loss of feeling and a lack of mobility (or permanent loss of mobility) below the injured area of the spine. In the most serious of injuries, a spinal cord injury can be fatal. Of the nonfatal spinal cord injuries every year, almost half of the 7,800 are the result of a motor vehicle accident.
When the spinal cord injury is at the neck level, it can:
- Cause Paralysis of the Trunk (Quadriplegia), Legs and Arms
- Impair Breathing
When the spinal cord injury is in the lower back it can lead to loss of feeling and movement, along with weakness, in the:
- Lower Body Parts (Paraplegia)
Lower spinal cord injuries only affect the lower body parts. When the spinal cord is severed it’s not repairable, however, if the damage to the spinal cord is less severe, recovery will depend on the damages extent.
There are many symptoms of damage to the spinal cord and they may include lack of coordination, numbness, weakness, loss of bladder or bowel control, tingling, pain and even paralysis. Any type of trauma which compresses, cuts, pushes sideways or pulls the spinal cord has a high probability of causing damage to the spinal cord from moderate to severe. Non trauma induced spinal cord damage can be caused by tumors, Friedrich’s Ataxia or spina bifida (inherited disorders), polio, blood clots or abscesses.
Whenever there is a suspected injury to the spinal cord, a myelogram or MRI, or a CT scan may be performed for use as a diagnostic tool. Whenever there is a spinal cord injury immediate action must be taken in order to focus on the stabilization of the spine along with aggressive corticosteroid drug treatment in order to limit the damage to the spine. At times, there may need to be surgical intervention in order to provide stability to the spine. This is most often a spinal fusion with metal pins and/or plates. After the healing of the initial injury, functional improvements may continue for at least a six month period. After the six month time period, any disability that remains will more than likely be permanent.
An intense program of rehabilitation therapies will be required for long-term treatment of spinal cord injuries. The continual treatment can include all or some of the following:
- Occupational Therapy
- Careful and Continual Monitoring By Physicians
- Nutritional Management
- Psychological Counseling
Even when the damage is repairable, the person affected by the spinal cord injury is often looking at months or even years of the rehabilitation listed above, meaning loss of work, expensive medical bills and so on. If the damage to your spine is the result of negligence by another, you have rights and deserve adequate compensation. At The Doan Law Firm spinal injury personal injury lawyers are on call 24/7/365. Call today, regardless of the time or day. Accidents don’t wait for business hours and you deserve help now, call today for a free consultation and representation at (800) 349-0000.
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