About Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord runs from the base of the brain down the middle of the back and ends just above the waist. It consists of a bundle of nerves that sends information back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord is protected by 33 ring shaped bones, or vertebrae, making up the spinal column. Spinal cord injury (SCI) results when trauma causes damage to cells within the spinal cord or severs the vertebral column and affects the spinal cord’s ability to send and receive messages from the brain to other parts of the body. SCI consists of injuries including contusion (bruising), compression (pressure on the spinal cord), lacerations (severing or tearing of nerve fibers), and central cord syndrome (damage to the corticospinal tracts of the spinal cord).
SCI can be either complete or incomplete. Those who have movement in their body immediately after injury will have a better chance at recovering from the injury. Symptoms can include paralysis, loss of sensation at the injury site, loss of reflexive functions (e.g., bowel movements), pain, sensitivity to stimuli, muscle spasms, and sexual dysfunction. SCI patients may also develop secondary medical problems, such as bladder infections, respiratory problems, and pressure sores. Mental health problems such as depression can also develop during the adjustment to life with the injury.
Some classifications of spinal cord injuries are as follows:
- Tetraplegia, is also known as quadriplegia. This injury involves the loss of use of both the upper and lower parts of the body. Mobility may be limited to the head, neck, and shoulders.
- Paraplegia a general term that describes a loss of mobility and sensation to the lower part of the body, including the legs. The abdomen may be included in this injury.
Unfortunately, the nerves in the spinal cord do not regenerate once they have been injured. While there is currently no way to reverse damage to the spinal cord, a common treatment used to prevent further injury is rehabilitation. Current treatment involves a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach with an emphasis on returning a spinal cord injury victim to independence and an active life.
Modern technology can improve the daily quality of life of a spinal cord injury victim. Wheel chairs, walkers, and leg braces can assist with mobility. Voice activated technology and other adaptive technology devices can help with daily tasks such as dialing a phone or using a computer. Recent research has even provided sophisticated devices, which can be implanted to the body, to restore the movement or assist with breathing in some cases. Occupational therapy can refine physical mobility.
Spinal cord injuries can be severe and life altering. Our attorneys understand that your immediate goals after going through such trauma are to get your medical bills paid and covered, make sure you do not suffer financially through any lost wages, and make sure your insurance company will pay for future treatment relating to your injuries. Please contact David K. Kremin & Associates at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800) 275-2529.