California Spinal Cord Injuries: Understanding the Facts

People may suffer spinal cord injuries due to auto accidents or other incidents, and may experience debilitating symptoms and complications as a result.

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of people's backs. When people in California, and elsewhere, suffer injuries to their spinal cords, the effects are often devastating. These types of serious injuries may be sustained due to assaults, auto accidents, work-related accidents, falls and numerous other incidents. Suffering a spinal cord injury can be a frightening experience, and people often do not know what to expect.

Common spinal cord injury symptoms

As a result of spinal cord injuries, people may experience an array of symptoms. These can vary based on factorsincluding the severity of their injuries and where their injuries are located on their spines. The Mayo Clinic points out that some of the most common spinal cord injury symptoms include the following:

• Pain or an intense stinging sensation

• Loss of movement

• Spasms

• Problems with balance or walking

• Loss of bladder or bowel control

• Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in fingers, hands, toes or feet

The severity of the effects people experience may be classified as complete or incomplete. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, incomplete spinal cord injuries are those in which people still have some sensation and motor function below their injuries. With complete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, people sustain paralysis below their injuries.

Common complications of spinal cord injuries

Since spinal cord injuries generally affect the body's functions, they may cause a number of complications. For instance, people who sustain these injuries may have issues with breathing or coughing. As a result, they may develop lung problems such as pneumonia.

Additionally, there are issues that may arise due to the loss of bladder or bowel control. These include an increased risk for developing urinary tract infections, kidney infections or stones, or bladder stones. The loss of skin sensations may contribute to the development of pressure sores or other medical conditions resulting from extended exposure to the cold or heat. People who sustain spinal cord injuries also sometimes become depressed.

Treatment of spinal cord injuries

Unlike other injuries that may be healed over time, the damage resulting from spinal cord injuries generally cannot be reversed. Initially, people may require immobilization or other emergency interventions to stabilize their spines and limit the effects of the trauma they have suffered. Sometimes, those who have sustained spinal cord injuries may need surgery to address anything that is internally compressing the spine.

Due to the severity of spinal cord injuries, people often need long-term care. This may include physical therapy, occupational therapy and other types of rehabilitation. These interventions may be used to help people regain their muscle function, motor skills and strength, as well as to teach them adaptive techniques to help them perform their daily activities and tasks. In some cases, people may be prescribed medications to help treat symptoms they may be experiencing as a result of spinal cord injuries.

Working with an attorney

When Californians sustain spinal cord injuries, they often require extensive medical treatment and, in some cases, ongoing care. Due to their injuries, they may incur unexpected medical bills and be left unable to work for lengthy periods. When such injuries are suffered due to the negligence or intentional actions of others, they may be responsible for the resulting damages. Thus, people who have sustained spinal cord injuries may find it helpful to seek legal counsel. An attorney may help them understand their rights and explain their options for obtaining compensation.

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