Spinal Cord Injury Information
Spinal cord injuries often result in serious, lifelong disabilities. A number of situations can lead to spinal cord injuries. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, acts of violence and sports and recreation accidents are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries nationwide, according to the Mayo Clinic. While falls are most common in people age 65 and over, anyone can be injured in a fall. Anyone who travels in a motor vehicle is susceptible to an auto accident that results in a serious spinal cord injury.
Information About Spinal Cord Injuries
An injury to the spinal cord can result in partial paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia and a host of other disabilities and conditions. These injuries arise from trauma to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column – or even to the spinal column itself. They can be caused by either traumatic accidents or non-traumatic factors such as diseases. If another person’s negligence caused trauma to your spine and left you seriously injured, you may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.
The severity of a spinal cord injury is categorized as either complete or incomplete, depending on the amount of trauma inflicted. The Mayo Clinic identified several signs and symptoms that may indicate an injury has caused damage, and they include:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation – including the ability to feel heat, cold, touch, etc.
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- The inability to clear secretions from the lungs
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, arousal, sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation.
Intense pain and a stinging sensation could indicate damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord. Immediately following an accident, some tell-tale signs emerge that could indicate damage to the spinal cord. They include:
- Extreme back pain or pressure in the injured person’s neck, head, or back
- Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of the body
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in the hands or feet
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Impaired breathing
- An oddly-positioned or twisted neck or back.
“Completeness” is a medical term that encompasses the degree to which a person’s spine has been traumatized. Under no circumstances should the completeness of a person’s injuries – or the degree to which he or she exhibits symptoms – be considered proportional to the extent of his or her injuries.
- Complete Injuries: To be considered complete, an injury to the spinal cord must result in the loss of almost all sensory feeling and all ability to control motor movement below the point on the spinal cord where the trauma occurred.
- Incomplete Injuries: There are varying degrees of incomplete spinal cord injuries. If an injured person has some sensory and motor capabilities below the spinal cord, then his or her injuries are incomplete.
Injuries and Conditions that Result from Trauma to the Spinal Cord
Tetraplegia (or quadriplegia) is a condition where a spinal cord injury affects the arms, legs, hands, trunk and pelvic organs. Paraplegia is similar, affecting the victim’s trunk, pelvic organs, and legs, but not the arms.
Other injuries and conditions are possible with spinal cord trauma. Tetraplegia (paraplegia) is an injury that results in full or partial paralysis. Diminished mobility comes with many problems of its own, such as incontinence, constipation, urinary tract infections and kidney stones, according to the Mayo Clinic.
People who are completely or partially paralyzed often also suffer from chronic and severe pain or pressure, not to mention extreme physical inactivity. Being unable to exercise or even walk could lead to weight gain and other associated health injuries. Other conditions related to spinal cord trauma include:
- Loss of skin sensation – Below the level of the injury, a person might lose the ability to feel things that come into contact with the skin. This could make a person more prone to pressure sores and other conditions associated with numbness.
- Circulatory control – Circulatory problems can include decreased blood pressure and swelling of the extremities. Such problems could also lead to blood clots and deep-vein thrombosis. Many other problems arise with the potential of high blood pressure.
- Respiratory system – Damage to the spinal cord could make it difficult to take deep breaths and expel phlegm from the lungs. This is especially likely if the injury impairs the function of a person’s lungs and other vital organs. Depending on the type of injury, a person might also be at increased risk of pneumonia and other lung problems.
- Muscle tone, fitness and wellness – Because of their diminished ability to move, people with spinal cord damage could be prone to muscle spasms and uncontrolled tightening and loosening of the muscles. Additionally, the inability to be as active as one might have been could lead to weight issues, muscle atrophy and diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease) associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Depression is also a factor because a person with spinal cord injuries must adjust to new limitations on his or her lifestyle, not to mention the likelihood of chronic pain. Spinal cord injuries can also complicate sexual health for men and women.
Contact Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Kevin Krist Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury in southeast Texas, including Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, Katy, Baytown, Sugar Land, Conroe and League City, contact Kevin Krist today for a free consultation about your case.
Simply call the Law Office of Kevin Krist at 713-284-1660 or use the firm’s online form. Let Kevin Krist tell you how he can put his personal, proven experience to work for you and your family. Kevin Krist represents personal injury victims on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no fees unless he recovers compensation on your claim.