Victims of car wrecks or slip-and-falls can suffer catastrophic injuries, one of which is a spinal cord injury. These can lead to many life challenges that can be difficult to overcome. Proper medical care and therapy after the injury may help to improve the outcome.
The location of the damage to the spinal cord and the severity of it both play a role in the effects the person has to deal with. Injuries that are higher on the spinal cord impact more of the body’s systems because the results of a spinal cord injury occur below the location of the damage.
Potential effects of a spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries affect people differently, so what one person experiences, another person might not. One factor that makes a big difference is whether the injury is complete or incomplete. An incomplete injury is one that didn’t entirely sever the nerves. A complete injury means the nerves were completely severed.
Some symptoms that they experience signal the need for emergency care. These include:
- Odd positioning of the neck or back, including abnormal twisting
- Pressure or extreme pain in the head, neck or back
- Sudden loss of bowel or bladder control
- Impaired breathing
Not all spinal cord injuries produce immediate effects. It’s possible that you may not realize that you were injured right away. This could mean that the injury gets worse. Some people with spinal cord injuries will have to deal with significant changes in their abilities and how they feel.
Depending on the location of the injury, victims might have to deal with these life-long effects:
- Trouble breathing, sometimes ventilator dependent
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Changes in sexual function and sensitivity, including fertility challenges
- Loss of movement, including permanent paralysis
- Spasms or exaggerated reflexes
- Intense pain and changes in the ability to feel
Anyone who suffers a spinal cord injury needs to get medical care right away. The cost of care is considerable after this type of catastrophic injury, so victims may choose to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Pennsylvania law has strict time limits for getting these cases filed.