Spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic injuries that can lead to critical medical care as well as to dramatic lifestyle and career changes. Every spinal cord injury is serious and must be treated as such, even if the effects do not seem debilitating at first.
The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. The spinal cord is made of soft tissue and surrounded by vertebrae that extend down from the base of the brain. Nerve cells and groups of nerves known as tracts are housed here but lead to other parts of the body. This simplistic view of the spinal cord gives us insight into how spinal injuries can affect other parts of the body and our ability to function.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries usually occur from a sudden, traumatic blow that fractures, dislocates crushes or compresses one or more of the vertebrae. The full extent of the damage may not be known for days or even weeks.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center released these figures in 2014.
- Motor vehicle accidents such as auto or motorcycle crashes account for about 35% of all spinal cord injuries and are far and away the leading cause of the catastrophic injuries.
- For persons aged 65 or older, the major cause of spinal cord injury is a fall. In fact, about 25% of spinal cord injuries stem from falls.
- Acts of violence account for about 15% of all spinal cord injuries.
- Sports and recreation are in the news but account for only about 9% of these injuries.
- Interestingly, alcohol has been a factor in about 25% of all spinal cord injuries. A number of diseases, such as arthritis and osteoporosis can lead to spinal cord injuries.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury
The symptoms of spinal cord injuries can be intimidating and painful. The Mayo Clinic lists these emergency signs and symptoms:
- Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back
- Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Impaired breathing after injury
- An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
These symptoms indicate potential for partial or full loss of movement:
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
All these symptoms are troubling. Persons who have survived a traumatic impact cannot be too cautious and should seek medical care immediately.
Things to Know
A thoracic or chest injury or a lower back (lumbar) injury can affect:
- The torso
- Bowel and bladder control
- Sexual function
- Neck or cervical injury
- Limb movements
- Ability to breathe
Because bleeding, inflammation and fluid accumulation can occur over long periods of time, persons suffering spinal cord injuries can have a false sense of security. Spinal cord injuries should be treated immediately to help control these effects.
Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis or Tetraplegia or Quadriplegia where the arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs are all affected.
Any person suffering a spinal injury from any cause should seek medical care. At the same time, the cost of care can be imposing.
This is why most persons suffering spinal cord injury in Fort Worth, Texas contact the Warriors for Justice, Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC at 817-820-0100. This is one way to ease your pain and leave the insurance matters to someone you can trust to represent you while you begin recovery.