What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Every part of the body relies on the spinal cord. Without the spinal cord, the brain could not communicate with the body about movement, sensations, or decisions. This is why a spinal cord injury could have harmful effects on those who suffer from them.
These injuries can happen in many ways and result in serious issues. They can affect motor function as well as the ability to perform common daily activities. More than 10,000 spinal cord injuries happen each year in the United States. As a result, victims’ lives can change forever.
If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, the lawyers at Premier Law Group can help.
Call 206.285.1743 to speak directly with one of our personal injury attorneys and start your free case review. You will pay no legal fees unless we win your case.
Spinal cord injuries are trauma that occur along the spinal cord. A complete spinal cord injury cuts off communication between the brain and the spinal cord below the injury. This is the most frequent cause of paralysis. For instance, victims with a complete spinal cord injury at the base of the neck become unable to feel or move anything below that point.
On the other hand, incomplete spinal cord injuries allow for some communication between the body and the brain. The area below the injury may still experience some sensations and have some ability to move.
Furthermore, most spinal cord injuries begin with the fracturing or dislocation of vertebrae. Broken or fractured bones can tear through the spinal cord, severing it and leaving the victim permanently paralyzed. Additionally, ligaments and disc material that push against, compress or bruise the spinal cord can cause temporary or partial paralysis as well.
A spinal cord injury is not the result of any specific type of accident. There are many ways that victims can sustain such an injury. For instance, some spinal cord injuries stem from arthritis, cancer, inflammation, or infections. These are non-traumatic spinal cord injuries. However, the majority of these injuries result from trauma.
Traumatic spinal cord injuries can occur:
- During a serious car crash
- When struck by a car as a pedestrian or bicycle rider
- Falling down stairs
- Being struck hard while playing sports
- When shot with a gun
- Being stabbed with a knife
- Slipping and falling on ice, water, spills, debris, or uneven surfaces
Spinal cord injuries tend to get worse over time as well, especially when the victim does not receive proper medical treatment. This is why it is important for victims who injure their backs to see a doctor right away.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Many think that spinal cord injuries should be easy to identify. However, there are symptoms that victims might not notice right away. This makes it vital for patients to see a doctor quickly after an injury.
The symptoms of the two types of spinal cord injuries differ.
- A complete spinal cord injury comes with a complete loss of feeling in the area below the injury. Victims also lose the ability to control their motor function. Typically, this loss of motor function means not being able to move, rather than moving out of control.
- An incomplete spinal cord injury usually comes with the loss of only some feeling and control below the injury.
While there are no other major symptoms of spinal cord injuries you should seek medical attention if you are feeling any numbness in your extremities and have back pain.
A spinal cord injury can often be diagnosed by symptoms alone. However, in most cases, doctors will perform an MRI, x-rays and other tests to confirm the diagnosis. Additionally, a specialist may look at the x-rays to determine the extent of the damage and whether any amount of recovery is possible for the victim.
For victims suffering from incomplete spinal cord injuries, the prognosis often varies. Victims with a mild injury usually have the most positive prognosis. They will likely make a complete recovery. Moderate spinal cord injuries, however, may take longer to heal. Some loss of sensation and movement may be permanent as well. Furthermore, for victims who have suffered a complete spinal cord injury, the prognosis is less positive. Although victims often survive complete these injuries, the likelihood of regaining feeling is slim.
There are many studies aiming to help people living with spinal cord injuries find relief. However, there is currently no cure for these injuries – especially complete spinal cord injuries.
Furthermore, incomplete spinal cord injuries may have some ability to recover, however. Although it is impossible to know how long recovery will take, or if it is even possible for individual victims. For some victims of incomplete spinal cord injuries it can take years to completely recover.
Though there are currently experimental treatments, there is no way to cure a spinal cord injury with medicine. While some medications may help victims of mild injuries feel better, those medications or treatments are unlikely to help victims regain full function. Some surgeries can help the spinal cord to regain function by restoring the normal state of the spinal cord. However, this will not restore full function. Furthermore, light bruising of the spinal cord that led to temporary paralysis will eventually go away. Although this is usually with the help of physical therapy, rest, and anti-inflammatories.
Victims of complete spinal cord injuries can have their lives change in an instant. Most victims lose the use of their legs. These individuals may also lose feeling and control over their entire trunk area and the corresponding organs.
These types of injuries make it nearly impossible to maintain a full time job as well. For victims who were the sole or primary wage earner in a family, this can be devastating. It can also have negative emotional, mental, and financial effects for the family.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a spinal cord injury, contact Premier Law Group. Our Seattle personal injury attorneys can help you navigate your situation and get you the compensation you deserve. Call 206.285.1743 today to start your free case review. Also, click here to read about how we have helped our past clients.
Although you can never totally remove risks, the best ways to reduce the risk of suffering a spinal cord injury include:
- Driving safely
- Not diving into shallow water
- Not rough-housing
- Playing sports with safety in mind
- Always watching out for hazards
If you or someone you love has sustained a spinal cord injury due to the actions of someone else, you’re going to need help from a skilled Seattle injury attorney. At Premier Law Group, we know the frustration that comes with these injuries. We can help you hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries and financial troubles.
For help with your spinal cord injuries and finding ways to enjoy life again contact the Seattle personal injury attorneys at Premier Law Group. Call 206.285.1743 today to schedule a free case review today. And remember, you do not have to pay a fee unless we win your case.