Do I Have A Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries are caused by damage to any part of a person’s spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. These injuries are catastrophic and can easily cause permanent changes in strength, tactile sensation, and other crucial bodily functions. Spinal cord injuries often require extensive medical care and can impose a tremendous financial and emotional burden on injury victims and their families.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it goes without saying that every aspect of your life has been affected. Much like the brain, the spinal cord does not regrow cells to heal itself, and spinal cord injury victims are often left to deal with lifelong disabilities, including quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down) or paraplegia (paralysis from the waist down).
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, you need to consult with an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible. We completely empathize with the incredible challenges you are facing as a result of your injury, and we will do everything we can to help you on your road to recovery. We cannot turn back the clock and prevent your injury from happening, but we will make sure you get the financial support you and your family deserve to move forward with your life.
How Are Spinal Cord Injuries Caused?
A spinal cord injury is caused by damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of a person’s spinal column, or by trauma to the spinal column itself. These injuries can be caused by a knife wound or gunshot that penetrates and cuts through the spinal cord. But even a sudden blow to the spine can dislocate, fracture, compress, or crush one or more vertebrae, causing irreparable harm.
Spinal cord injury causes:
- Falls: For people over the age of 65, spinal cord injuries are most often caused by a fall. For all other age groups, falls account for over 15% of all spinal cord injuries.
- Car Accidents: Car accidents are the most common cause of all spinal cord injuries and are responsible for causing nearly half of all new spinal cord injuries a year.
- Sports Injuries: Athletic activities, impact sports, and diving in shallow water cause about 10% of all spinal cord injuries.
- Violence: Approximately 12% of all spinal cord injuries are caused by gunshot and knife wounds.
- Alcohol: About 1 in 4 spinal cord injuries reported alcohol as a contributing factor.
Symptoms Of A Spinal Cord Injury
If you believe you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s crucial that you seek immediate medical care. A doctor needs to perform a series of tests to determine the level and completeness of your injury. The severity of spinal cord injury is referred to as ‘the completeness’ and can be classified as either:
Complete: This occurs when all feeling and all ability to control movement are lost below the spinal cord injury.
Incomplete: This occurs when some motor or sensory function are retained below the affected area.
Spinal cord injuries may result in one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of movement.
- Loss of/or alteration in the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch.
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, or lung secretions.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Changes in sexual functioning, sexual sensitivity, or fertility.
- Pain or intense stinging caused by nerve damage.
- Spasms or exaggerated reflex activities.
Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury:
- Weakness, lack of coordination, or paralysis in any part of the body.
- Extreme back pain or pressure in the neck, head, or back.
- Difficulty walking or maintaining balance.
- Numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the hands, fingers, feet, or toes.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Difficulty breathing immediately after an injury.
If you believe someone has suffered a serious back or neck injury:
- Call 911.
- DO NOT move an injured person. This can cause permanent paralysis and other serious complications.
- Make sure to keep an injured person completely still.
- Place towels on both sides of a person’s neck or hold their head and neck to prevent any unnecessary movement.
- Provide basic first aid without moving the head or neck.
Spinal Cord Injury Complications
Areas affected by a spinal cord injury:
- Bowel Control: Your stomach and intestines will work the same, but bowel control is often altered.
- Bladder Control: Your bladder will process and store urine as before, but your brain may not be able to control your bladder because the spinal cord — responsible for communication with the bladder — is damaged or severed. Changes in bladder control increase the risk of urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones.
- Respiratory System: Difficulty breathing and coughing are common if abdominal or chest muscles have been affected. Cervical and thoracic spinal cord injuries increase the risk of pneumonia and other lung problems.
- Skin Sensation: When this occurs, your skin can no longer send messages to the brain when it’s hurt by pressure, heat, or cold.
- Muscle Tone: There are two types of muscle tone issues — uncontrolled tightening (spasticity) or soft and limp muscles (flaccidity).
- Sexual Health: Sexuality, sexual function, and fertility can all be affected by a spinal cord injury. Some men notice changes in erections or ejaculation, and women may notice changes in lubrication.
- Depression: Learning to deal with sudden changes and living with pain causes many people to experience depression.
Our Team is Here to Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, contact an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers today. Our attorneys will help get you the maximum compensation for your short and long-term medical care and other losses and damages. Consultations with a dedicated Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer at our firm are always free, and you only pay when we get you compensation for your injuries. You can reach our friendly staff today by emailing us at email@example.com or by calling toll free at (213) 927-3700.