Spinal Cord and Back Pain Injury Accident
Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow that fractures or dislocates your vertebrae, the bone disks that make up your spine. Most injuries don't sever your spinal cord. Instead, they cause damage when pieces of vertebrae tear into cord tissue or press down on the nerve parts that carry signals. In a complete spinal cord injury, the cord can't relay messages below the level of the injury. As a result, you are paralyzed below the level of injury. In an incomplete injury, you have some movement and sensation below the injury. When filing a spinal cord injury lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries, it is important to have a knowledgeable lawyer that will defend your legal rights, and aggressively fight to obtain the compensation you're entitled to.
Were you or a loved one injured in an accident resulting in a spinal cord injury or damage? If so, contact a spinal cord injury lawyer in your area today for more information.
A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. Immediate treatment can reduce long-term effects. Later treatment usually includes medicine and rehabilitation therapy. Spinal cord trauma can be caused by any number of injuries to the spine, and result from:
A minor injury can cause spinal cord trauma if the spine is weakened (such as from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis) or if the spinal canal protecting the spinal cord has become too narrow (spinal stenosis) due to the normal aging process. Direct injury, such as cuts, can occur to the spinal cord, particularly if the bones or the disks have been damaged. Fragments of bone (for example, from broken vertebrae, which are the spine bones) or fragments of metal (such as from a traffic accident or gunshot) can cut or damage the spinal cord.
Direct damage can also occur if the spinal cord is pulled, pressed sideways, or compressed. This may occur if the head, neck, or back are twisted abnormally during an accident or injury. Bleeding, fluid accumulation, and swelling can occur inside the spinal cord or outside the spinal cord (but within the spinal canal). The accumulation of blood or fluid can compress the spinal cord and damage it. Most spinal cord trauma happens to young, healthy individuals. Men ages 15 - 35 are most commonly affected. The death rate tends to be higher in young children with spinal injuries.
Risk factors include participating in risky physical activities, not wearing protective gear during work or play, or diving into shallow water. Older people with weakened spines (from osteoporosis) may be more likely to have a spinal cord injury. Patients who have other medical problems that make them prone to falling from weakness or clumsiness (from stroke, for example) may also be more susceptible.
Symptoms vary somewhat depending on the location of the injury. Spinal cord injury causes weakness and sensory loss at and below the point of the injury. The severity of symptoms depends on whether the entire cord is severely injured (complete) or only partially injured (incomplete).
The spinal cord doesn't go below the 1st lumbar vertebra, so injuries at and below this level do not cause spinal cord injury. However, they may cause "cauda equina syndrome" -- injury to the nerve roots in this area.
CERVICAL (NECK) INJURIES
When spinal cord injuries occur in the neck area, symptoms can affect the arms, legs, and middle of the body. The symptoms may occur on one or both sides of the body. Symptoms can include:
THORACIC (CHEST LEVEL) INJURIES
When spinal injuries occur at chest level, symptoms can affect the legs:
Injuries to the cervical or high thoracic spinal cord may also result in blood pressure problems, abnormal sweating, and trouble maintaining normal body temperature.
LUMBAR SACRAL (LOWER BACK) INJURIES
When spinal injuries occur at the lower back level, varying degrees of symptoms can affect one or both legs, as well as the muscles that control your bowels and bladder:
Spinal cord injury is very serious issue that requires immediate medical attention. The health care provider will perform a physical exam, including a neurological exam. This will help identify the exact location of the injury, if it is not already known. Some of the person's reflexes may be abnormal or absent. Once swelling goes down, some reflexes may slowly recover.
The following tests may be ordered:
Were you or a loved one injured accident resulting in a spinal cord injury? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact a spinal cord injury attorney in your area today for more information.
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