Spinal cord injuries may result from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.
A traumatic spinal cord injury may stem from a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae. Car accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord issues, leading to 47% of all spinal cord injury cases.
The back and neck are not made to sustain the harsh impact of a car accident. Regardless of the crash test rating, no safety feature can change this or mitigate the risk of a serious back injury completely.
Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury after an accident may include:
- Extreme pain or pressure in your back, neck or head
- Weakness or paralysis in any part of your body
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Impaired breathing after injury
- An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
Spinal cord injuries of any kind may result in one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of movement
- Loss or altered sensation
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
A spinal cord injury can have serious lifelong affects to your limb control. The severity of the injury is measured and classified by its “completeness”.
- If all feeling and all ability to control movement are lost below the injury, the injury is called complete.
- If you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area, your injury is called incomplete. There are varying degrees of incomplete injury.
Spinal cord injuries may also cause paralysis which can be broken down into two categories
- Tetraplegia or Quadriplegia – the injury has affected your arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs
- Paraplegia – the spinal cord injury affects all or part of the trunk, legs and pelvic organs
Pain and physical complications aren’t the only issues a spinal cord injury will cause; the medical bills related to those issues can stack up and become a problem of their own. If the spinal cord injury was caused by a car accident it’s important to find an experienced lawyer to help you determine liability and who is responsible for those costs.