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Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2021 | Catastrophic Injury

A spinal cord injury can be devastating, leading to paralysis, chronic pain and a reduced lifestyle. Hearing that you have a spinal cord injury can be frightening, but it is important to understand the level of the injury, where it is located and what options you may have for treatment after being diagnosed with a spinal cord injury in Texas.

Significant number of injuries

The National Spinal Cord Injury Association reports that as many as 450,000 people live with a spinal cord injury and that 17,000 people each year suffer a catastrophic injury to the spine. The most common cause for spinal cord injury is motor vehicle accidents while falls, acts of violence and sports also cause a significant number of these injuries.

Symptoms of spinal cord injury

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury can vary depending on where the injury occurs and how severe the injury is. The severity of a spinal cord injury is referred to as either complete, which means you have no motor function below the injury, or incomplete, which means you have some motor function below the injury. Symptoms may include:

  • Altered sensation, such as unable to feel hot or cold
  • Changes in fertility, sexual function or sexual sensitivity
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty clearing secretions from lungs
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Lack of bladder or bowel control
  • Loss of movement
  • Numbness or tingling in hands, fingers or toes
  • Pain
  • Pressure in head or neck
  • Spasms
  • Stinging sensation caused by nerve damage
  • Weakness

Treatment of spinal cord injury

Although there is currently no method to reverse spinal cord damage, there are treatments that may help. Doctors are using prosthesis and medications that may improve nerve function and promote nerve growth. Many people with spinal cord injuries undergo intense physical therapy that allows them to retrain nerves that have not been damaged and may help them gain partial function in their extremities. In some cases, doctors may use computer adaptations and electrical stimulation to produce actions. Some with spinal injuries are provided robot gait training as well. After catastrophic injuries to the spine, the treatments can be lengthy and expensive.

Although a spinal injury can be frightening and devastating, new methods for treating and managing such injuries are developed regularly. Those treatments can be expensive so it is important to speak to an attorney to learn how compensation may be able to offset those costs.