Spinal cord injuries are among the most life-changing and catastrophic injuries the body can face. About 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases occur in the U.S. each year. Most of these cases result from vertebral column trauma, which impacts the ability of the spinal cord to send and transport messages from the brain to bodily systems that regulate the autonomic, motor, and sensory functions below the injury site.
Most spinal cord injuries (SCI) in younger people result from motor vehicle crashes, while most SCIs in older people are caused by falls. Violent acts, recreational and sporting activities, and medical negligence are also common causes of SCIs.
Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
SCIs are characterized by damage to the spinal cord, which is a tight bundle of nerves and cells that receives and transports signals from the brain to the rest of the body. They can result from direct injury to the spine or damage to the bones and tissues surrounding the spinal cord. When this happens, the body will experience permanent or temporary changes in movement, sensation, body functions, and strength below the injury site.
Certain SCIs that don’t cause cell death usually result in complete recovery, but those that damage the higher sections of the spine are more severe and can lead to paralysis. SCIs can also be complete or incomplete injuries. With incomplete injuries, the spinal cord can still send the brain some messages. With complete injuries, however, voluntary movement or motor function and nerve communication below the injury site will be lost.
Common Symptoms Of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can cause the following symptoms, depending on the nature and severity of the trauma:
- Pressure or pain in the back, neck, or head
- Tingling, numbness, or changes or a loss of sensation in the feet and hands
- Loss of movement
- Paralysis that may occur right away or develop later on as bleeding and swelling impacts the spinal cord
- Weakness, inability, or difficulty moving a body part
- Breathing difficulties
- An unnatural position of the head or spine
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Sexual dysfunction
SCIs are notoriously unpredictable, which means that the prognosis of an injured individual is usually difficult to foresee. In some cases, even the best doctors may have a hard time predicting the recovery outcome for SCIs. Some survivors with severe SCI may spontaneously walk, while others will require years of physical rehab just to move a finger. Put simply, the more serious the SCI, the lower the chances of a complete recovery and the costly the treatment and lifetime care will be.
Speak To Our Skilled Windsor Personal Injury Attorneys Now
No one can really plan from something as shocking and traumatic as an SCI, so it’s common for people to have a plethora of questions and concerns about how they can handle the costly medical bills and lifetime care costs associated with SCIs. The skilled Windsor personal injury attorneys at Berman & Russo are available to discuss your case in a free consultation. Call 860-644-1548 or contact us online for more information.