Possible Lasting Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Possible Lasting Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

According to the World Health Organization, between 250,000 and 500,000 people around the world sustain a spinal cord injury each year. The consequences of such an injury can be severe, with many accident victims suffering increased risks of infection and premature death, as well as an overall reduction in quality of life.

Some of the most common causes of a spinal cord injury are preventable accidents such as motor vehicle collisions and slip and falls. The financial burden of recovery can be immense. Individuals living spinal cord injuries often need the support of attendant care. Rehabilitative therapy and assistive technologies can also be costly. Incurring significant financial losses while being unable to return to work can contribute to severe stress, depression, and anxiety.

Financial support may be available to individuals who have sustained spinal cord injuries in an accident. Contact our Edmonton personal injury lawyers today to learn more.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

The spinal cord injury is a long structure of nervous tissue that runs from the brainstem to the lumbar spine. Its primary function is to transmit nerve signals from the brain to the body. The spinal cord is the centre for coordination, reflexes, and many kinds of movement.

Traumatic impact, such as sudden impact in a car accident or a slip and fall, can damage the spinal cord. Nearly 90% of spinal cord injuries are caused by traumatic damage. Depending on the severity of the injury, this damage to the spinal cord could prevent the transmissions of nerve signals and impulses to other areas of the body, causing paralysis.

Immediate Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

Not every spinal cord injury is immediately apparent. For this reason, any person who has sustained significant trauma to the head or neck should receive immediate medical attention.

While each case is different and the symptoms may depend on the location and severity of the injury, these are some common signs of a spinal cord injury:

  • A change in, or loss of, movement
  • A change in or loss of sensation
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Spasms and exaggerated reflexive moments
  • A change in, or loss of, sexual function, sensitivity, and/or fertility
  • Pain or intense stinging along the spinal cord
  • Difficulty breathing
  • And possibly more

Following an accident, you should seek emergency treatment if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme pain or pressure in your back, neck, or head
  • Paralysis, weakness, or lack of coordination in any body part
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty balancing
  • A twisted or oddly positioned neck or back

If you are assisting a person you suspect might have a spinal cord injury, do not move them. Call 911 immediately and perform basic first aid without moving the injured person's head or neck.

Ongoing Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

There are several different kinds of spinal cord injuries, all of which have different effects on the body. If the spinal cord has been severed, the body may lose mobility and sensation below the severed point. If it is not completely severed, the body may still have some feeling and ability to move.

Damage to the lower parts of the spine, in the sacral and lumbar regions, may affect the hips and legs, as well as the bowel, bladder, and genitalia. Damage to the thoracic spine may also affect the torso, and frequently leads to paraplegia. Damage to the cervical spine - in the neck - may result in quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia. This form of paralysis impairs the use of all four limbs, and can impact an individual's ability to breathe on their own. It can also affect a person's ability to speak.

A spinal cord injury is among the most severe consequences of a traumatic accident. It is irreversible and life-altering. Its profound, lasting effects include lack of bowel and bladder control, chronic pain, and the inability to breathe without the aid of a medical assistive device.

Contact Our Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyers Today For a Consultation

The financial burden of a spinal cord injury can be profound. At Verhaeghe Law, we are committed to providing support to injured accident victims. If you or someone you love have sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of another person's negligence, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Edmonton personal injury lawyers. Learn what compensation may be available to you.

*Please note that the information in this article is not intended legal advice. It is a general overview on the subject of spinal cord injuries. For specific legal advice, please contact a lawyer.