According to data compiled by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, there are 1.3 million persons in the United States suffering from a spinal cord injury. The injuries occur mainly from motor vehicle accidents, work-related accidents, sports and recreation accidents and falls. The spinal cord is the communication link between the brain and the rest of the body, therefore, injuries to the spinal cord can cause loss of feeling and motor control of the body. Treatment includes physical and occupational therapy to help the person to perform the basic tasks of living, build up strength and regain confidence and ability to control your life again.
Spinal Cord Injury Recovery
Through rehabilitation, some people who have sustained spinal cord injuries can recover. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, no two people will experience the same recovery. Rehabilitation experts focus not only on regaining physical strength, but on providing emotional support. Spinal cord injury victims can participate in physical therapy to regain muscle strength as well as occupational therapy to help them re-learn how to perform everyday tasks.
Levels of Injury
There are six groups of nerves in the spine that fall under three categories: cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral.
- Cervical vertebrae are those at the top of the spine/neck.
- Thoracic vertebrae are located in the middle of your spine.
- Lumbosacral vertebrae are located at the bottom of the spine and tailbone region.
Injuries to the high cervical nerves (C1-C4 vertebrae) often result in the most severe injuries, including arm, hand, and even leg paralysis. Due to the location of the cervical vertebrae, individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries may have difficulty speaking, eating, and even breathing. The most severe outcomes of spinal cord injuries are paraplegia and quadriplegia.
Symptoms & Treatment for Spinal Injuries
Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury. In the most extreme cases, symptoms will include inability to speak, drink, control bowel and bladder functions, and loss of feeling and movement in limbs.
Treatment for spinal cord injuries is proportionate to the severity and type of trauma, and can include:
- Medication to relieve pain or help you breathe
- Neck and/or back braces to keep your spine immobilized
- Surgical procedures to repair or remove vertebrae/bone shards
- Physical and occupational therapy
Depression and Spine Injuries
Many people who suffer spinal cord injuries also experience depression. It is not uncommon for emotional and psychological trauma to accompany serious physical injury. Spinal cord injuries can seriously impede a person’s ability to live a normal, enjoyable life. They may no longer be able to walk, breathe, eat, or speak normally. This is why spinal damage victims may be able to seek financial compensation for noneconomic damages such as loss of enjoyment of life from the wrongdoer.
Contact an Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you love sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident, you may be able to pursue legal action against the wrongdoer who caused your injuries.
To discuss your case and see if you have a claim, contact a Tampa spinal cord injury lawyer at Robert Sparks Attorneys.