Articles Posted in Spinal Cord Injuries

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Spinal cord injuries can lead to devastating outcomes. In some cases, this type of injury can leave someone permanently paralyzed and in the worst case scenario, it can even lead to death.

A really sad story has recently come out about an elderly couple from another state. The husband was being transported in an ambulance to a hospice care facility back in 2012. During the transfer, his 85-year-old wife was in the ambulance with him. Suddenly, the driver of the ambulance stopped to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of him, according to the report. The sudden stop caused the elderly woman to pitch forward and strike her head on the inside of the ambulance.

The woman was taken to a hospital and died the next day. She had reportedly suffered a severe spinal cord injury that led to severe pain before her death. She was hoping to spend time with her husband at the hospice care facility before he died. Her husband died from cancer hours after she passed away at the hospital from her injuries.

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When someone suffers a spinal cord injury, it can be life-changing. While in some cases, this type of injury can lead to sudden death, others are left to deal with the tragic injury the rest of their lives.

According to the National SCI Statistical Center, spinal cord injuries fall into several categories, including incomplete and complete tetraplegia, and incomplete and complete paraplegia. The most common type since 2010 is the incomplete tetraplegia.

Statistics also show that the age of the person who suffers a spinal cord injury has increased since the 1970s. Back then the average age was 29 years old. Now that number has risen to 42. Not surprisingly, about 80 percent of all new spinal cord injury cases happen to men.

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The great thing about innovation in the medical field is that it brings us closer to cures to illnesses and injuries that were once thought to be death sentences, or permanent lifestyle changes. Innovations to nerve damage (specifically, spinal cord injuries) are part of this. However, innovation comes slowly, and spinal cord injuries still may have a significant effect on a person’s strength, sensation and function of many body parts.

Because of this, spinal cord injuries must be treated with extreme care. Moreover, actions that can cause such injuries must be avoided at all costs. This post will highlight some of the common ways that a person can suffer such an injury. 

Auto accidents – According to the Mayo Clininc, more traumatic spinal cord injuries are suffered in car accidents, compared to other maladies. Particularly dangerous accidents are rollover crashes, because of how passengers’ heads and necks can be compromised when the car lands on its roof.

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Since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989, spinal cord stimulation has become an important measure in treating chronic back pain, especially if other methods have not generated success. The treatment involves neurostimulation of the area where the source of pain is found. In essence, an electrical current is sent to the area, which creates a pleasant sensation and blocks the brain’s ability to sense the previous pain.

While neurostimulation can be used to treat a number of ailments, one of the primary reasons is to alleviate complications stemming from failed back surgeries. Perhaps the most common reason for failed back surgeries is that the area that was operated on is not necessarily the source of the patient’s pain. This may result in an improper procedure being performed. For example, a discectomy performed for leg pain may be proper and predictable, but a similar procedure to correct a lower back problem may not be. 

Regardless of the procedure, a physician must use reasonable care in determining what should be done to correct a back issue. This means that a doctor must act as a doctor with similar experience and expertise would do in the same instance, or must follow established standards for treating a particular condition. If the physician fails to do so, and a patient is harmed as a result, the doctor could be held liable.

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In a number of posts we have written, we have highlighted the continuing problem of medical conditions being caused by delays in diagnoses. Essentially, such a delay could lead to a minor condition that would require little treatment progressing to a serious one that would require surgery or other invasive treatments.

One such condition is a spinal epidural abscess. Basically, this condition arises when a mass of infected material becomes engorged between the bones in the spine as well as the nerves and membranes that make up the spinal cord. Just like an abscess found on other parts of the body, the mass is commonly caused by bacteria, fungus or even a staph infection. 

Unfortunately, a spinal epidural abscess can be misdiagnosed as a patient may only notice back pain. Also, in the process of ruling out other maladies, the delay in properly diagnosing the condition can lead to it worsening.

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The holiday season is known for family get togethers, elaborate light displays and shopping extravaganzas. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also known for accidents. Whether it is slipping on ice or being involved in auto accidents, spinal cord injuries are common during this time of year.

A spinal cord injury can occur when the spine suffers a severe, sudden trauma or when the vertebrae are compressed or fractured. A spinal cord injury can cause a disruption in nerve fibers, which can cause a lack of sensation in many areas of the body. For example, a person may lose their range of motion in their arms or legs, or they may not be able to move them at all.

Because of this, spinal cord injuries are taken very seriously. This post will highlight some of the common ways that a person can suffer such an injury. 

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