A spinal cord injury (SCI) is defined as any trauma or damage done to the sensitive nerve cord that connects to the brain. The spinal cord is incredibly susceptible to damage and doesn’t have the ability to repair itself naturally like other parts of the body. This makes spinal cord injuries particularly devastating.
How Does it Happen?
Spinal injury can occur in many different ways, but the most common are automobile accidents, sports injuries, and falls. Any time the spinal cord is stretched, bruised, compressed or hyperextended, injury can occur, and these injuries can vary depending on the severity of the trauma and the specific spinal area affected by that trauma.
In the event of an automobile accident, the body is often thrown forward and backwards in quick succession, which can cause the ligaments in the spine to tear and nerves to become damaged.
Symptoms of spinal cord injury can occur immediately after an automobile accident, or they may take hours or days to make themselves known, according the Mayo Clinic.
Immediate symptoms are considered emergencies and indicate a direct need for medical attention. They include:
- Paralysis in any part of the body (This can be a sign of bleeding around the spine)
- Difficulty breathing normally after the accident
- Extreme pain or pressure in the back
- Lack of bladder control
Even if all appears fine after an accident has occurred, other symptoms of spinal cord injury can show up later and can pinpoint a potentially worsening condition. The following symptoms may appear gradually in the time following an automobile accident:
- Loss of sensation in any part of the body (This includes the inability to feel heat, cold, or even touch)
- Tingling or numbness in any part of the body, especially the extremities
- The inability to control the bowels or bladder
- Extreme spasms or reflex contractions
- Changes in sexual function
- Growing pain or stinging sensations (This can indicate nerve damage)
- Difficulty breathing or an increase in coughing
Ignoring the common symptoms of a spinal injury can pave the way for severe progressions and potentially permanent damage. It is always recommended that you seek medical attention immediately following an accident.
Have you suffered from a spinal injury and feel you have a claim? We’re here to help! The expert personal injury attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo specialize in Tampa back and neck injuries and have the valuable experience needed to help you with your claim. Call us today for a free consultation of your case.