An injury to the spinal cord is a traumatic blow that damages or compresses the vertebrae.
A spinal cord injury can cause the nerves inside the spinal cord to become damaged or even severed. These injuries can be caused by a car accident, a fall, a violent encounter, a sports or fitness injury, alcohol misuse, or even disease. However, automobile accidents account for over half of new spinal cord injuries each year. Because spinal cord injuries are so diverse, they are classified by:
- Severity of the injury
- Location of the injury
Severity of Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries are divided into two severity groups, complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that the injured party has lost feeling and control of the portions of the body below where the spinal cord injury occurred. An incomplete spinal cord injury means that the injured party still has some feeling or movement in the portions of the body below where the injury occurred. Depending upon the severity level of the spinal cord injury, the location of the injury can determine the paralysis type.
Types of Paralysis
There are different types of paralysis that can occur, including partial paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia). Paralysis is the inability to move one or more muscles, but can also mean loss of feeling in a portion of the body.
- Partial paralysis can be as small as not being able to feel your toes, but can be as large as not being able to control the movement in your leg.
- Paraplegia is the loss of feeling or movement below the waist. This is typically caused by spinal cord injuries that occur lower on the spinal cord.
- Quadriplegia is the loss of feeling or movement below the neck. Quadriplegia is typically caused by a spinal cord injury in the neck.
Changes after a Spinal Cord Injury
After a spinal cord injury, you will notice a lot of changes to your body and its functionality, in addition to the paralysis that you have suffered. Depending on the severity of your spinal cord injury, you may lose control of your bladder or bowels, heightened skin sensitivities, respiratory issues, circulatory issues, a reduction in muscle mass, weight loss, a loss in the ability to engage in sexual activity, heightened pain, and possible depression. Though there is no cure for paralysis, there are treatments and devices that can assist you in managing your daily routine with assistance.
Assistive Devices & Therapies
An injured party who is experiencing a lack of bladder or bowel control can be provided with adult diapers, a catheter, or ostomy to assist in bladder and bowel care. Circulatory issues can be combated with the assistance of a physical therapist who can perform range of motion exercises with the injured party to help with circulation, lower the risk for bed sores, and assist in the maintenance of muscle tone. Pain management can be provided to assist the injured party in reducing chronic pain. Injured persons can be provided with therapy and medications to curb depressive episodes. Though these treatments, therapies, devices, and medications will not change the injured party’s paralysis, they can create a good quality of life for the injured person after a spinal cord injury.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury from an accident, injury, or violent act, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for what you have been through. Please contact our law offices for a consultation. We understand the cost that goes into caring for someone with a spinal cord injury and may be able to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as future medical expenses.