An acute spinal cord injury occurs because of an external force like a motor vehicle accident or a fall. This type of injury can lead to several impacts that can affect a person for their entire life. When you suffer damage to your spinal cord, there are a few things that you need to understand.
Some of these things can help you to better understand what life is like for a person with this type of injury. You might find this beneficial even if you don't have to deal with one yourself.
Who is at risk for a spinal cord injury?
Non-Hispanic white individuals and males are the groups that have a higher chance of suffering from this type of injury. The average age for a spinal cord injury is 42, but this factor has been on the rise for a few decades. Extreme sports are another cause, so people who engage in these also face an increased risk.
What are some symptoms of this injury?
When the injury occurs, the person will likely feel a decrease or a full loss in the ability to move the impacted area of the body. A spinal cord injury always affects areas below the location of the injury, so damage to the cervical spine in the neck could affect every body part below that. An injury to the lower back would likely affect the pelvis and legs.
Some individuals will feel pain at the site of the injury, but this may not occur in all cases because of potential nerve damage. Spinal shock can heighten impacts of the injury. Some people will regain their abilities in impacted limbs as swelling in the spinal cord area decreases.
How are spinal cord injuries treated?
The manner in which spinal cord injuries are treated depends on the location and extent. In the initial days, the focus is usually on reducing inflammation and addressing immediate concerns. Whether the injury is complete or incomplete has a part in the treatment plan.
Typically, complete injuries are less likely to have recovered function after the spinal shock abates than incomplete injuries. A complete injury means that all movement and sensation below the injury are lost, but there is some movement or feeling below the injury if the injury is incomplete.
How may life change?
One of the most serious life changes is paralysis. Many individuals focus on the loss of movement in the legs and arms, but it is also possible that organs like the lungs might be paralyzed. If the lungs are paralyzed, the person would rely on a ventilator to breathe. The financial damages of this injury are considerable, so some victims might choose to seek compensation with the guidance of an Illinois personal injury attorney.