Spinal cord injuries, which may be suffered in motor vehicle accidents, may cause a loss of motor function, among other complications.
When people in New York, and elsewhere, sustain damage to their spinal cords or the nerves at the end of their spinal canals, the effects may be devastating. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there were an estimated 238,000 to 332,000 people in the U.S. living with spinal cord injuries as of 2013. These serious injuries may be suffered as a result of auto accidents, trucking collisions, work-related accidents, falls, assaults and any other number of factors. After sustaining a spinal cord injury, many people are unsure what to expect.
Common symptoms of spinal cord injuries
People may experience a range of symptoms as a result of sustaining spinal cord injuries. The type and severity of their symptoms may vary depending on where their injury occurred and how serious their injury is. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Changes in sexual sensitivity or function
- Intense stinging sensations or pain
In addition, people who have sustained spinal cord injuries may experience difficulty breathing and coughing. Their severity may be complete, meaning they have lost almost all of their sensory function and all of their motor function. Other people who suffer these injuries may have incomplete severity. This means that they have only lost some of their sensory and motor function below their injuries.
Spinal cord injury complications
Spinal cord injuries often affect how the body functions, and thus, may result in complications. Loss of bladder and bowel control may contribute to an increased risk for urinary tract or kidney infections, as well as the development of kidney or bladder stones. Additionally, people may be more susceptible to pressure sores and other issues resulting from prolonged exposure to heat or cold due to a loss of skin sensations. It is also common for people who have suffered spinal cord injuries to become depressed.
Treating spinal cord injuries
Once people have sustained spinal cord injuries, the damage cannot be reversed. After taking emergency actions to minimize the effects of the trauma, people may be immobilized in order to stabilize their spines. In some cases, those who have suffered these types of injuries may require surgery in order to remove anything internally that may be compressing the spine.
Following a spinal cord injury, people often require long-term care. This may include rehabilitation, including physical and occupational therapy, to help them regain their strength, muscle function and motor skills. Rehabilitation may also be used to teach people adaptive techniques, which they may use to accomplish daily tasks and activities. Sometimes, medications may also be administered to treat certain symptoms resulting from spinal cord injuries.
Seeking legal assistance
Sustaining a spinal cord injury can be devastating for people in New York, as well as for their families. Often, they require extensive medical treatment and care and, in some cases, they may be off of work for an extended period of time or be left unable to work. This may lead to unexpected medical expenses and lost income during an already difficult time. If their injuries were caused by the negligence of another person, however, he or she may be held liable for the damages. Therefore, those who have suffered spinal cord injuries may benefit from consulting with an attorney to understand their options for pursuing compensation.