Dealing with Spinal Cord Injuries
If you are involved in an accident, there are a number of different types of injuries you can possibly sustain. Your injuries may be slight, requiring minimal medical care and treatment, and having no long-term impacts on your health or lifestyle. There are injuries, such as strains and fractures that can result in the need for ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation. These can sometimes be serious enough to require you to adapt to permanent, partial disability. Catastrophic injuries are those that seriously alter your standard of living and quality of life, often hindering and disabling you from functioning in the way you did prior to your accident. Spinal cord injuries fall into this classification, often resulting in severe, long-term disabilities that require ongoing treatment and comprehensive care. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to an accident or personal injury, it’s important to understand what happened in causing your injury, as well as to know that help is available.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are often caused by a sudden blow to the spine that results in fractured or dislocated vertebrae. According to the Spinal Injury Network, over 40,000 people in the United States live with SCI. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Automobile accidents
- Violence and assault
- Sports-related injuries and accidents
- Work-related injuries
- Complications of surgery
Spinal cord injuries can vary in severity. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), most injuries to the spinal cord don’t actually sever the cord itself, but instead damage the nerve cells that carry signals between the brain and the body along the spinal cord. Some types of less severe spinal cord injuries allow for almost complete recovery, while others result in partial or even complete paralysis.
Living with Spinal Cord Injury
According to the NINDS, spinal cord injuries are classified as either incomplete or complete. In an incomplete injury, the ability to transfer messages along the spinal cord isn’t completely lost, and there is still some sensory or motor function below the level of the injury. With a complete spinal cord injury, there is generally no transfer of messages and no function. People who survive these injuries often suffer from respiratory and heart problems, as well as chronic pain and bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Advances in research have begun giving patients with spinal cord injuries hope that doctors will one day be able to repair spinal cords. In the meantime, groups like the United Spinal Association provide help and support for people with SCI. Through their New Beginning Program, they provide valuable information for people with spinal cord injuries on resources such as:
- Rehabilitation and recovery
- Home modification and housing
- Medical supplies
- Mobility equipment and wheelchairs
- Health and wellness
The United Spinal Association also provides resources for caregivers. While no one can be prepared for all the challenges that come with suffering a catastrophic injury, helping people with SCI get the resources they need can enable them to adapt to their injuries as they focus on recovery.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of an accident, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys will help you to recover damages for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Reach out to us today for a consultation.