Spinal Cord Injury
Sudden trauma, like from a motor vehicle accident or fall from a great height, can result in a spinal cord injury.
The damage at the moment of the spinal cord injury occurs when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into the spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord do not completely sever it. Rather, an injury is more likely to cause fractures or compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons, also known as extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. A spinal cord injury can damage some or all of these axons. Some injuries allow for almost complete recovery, while other injuries can result in complete paralysis.
Appropriate emergency medical care and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize nerve damage due to a spinal cord injury, and the patient may experience restored abilities. An indication of a severe spinal cord injury are respiratory complications. Approximately, one-third of patients with severe spinal cord injuries require respiratory support and help with breathing. Methylprednisolone given within the first eight hours after a spinal cord injury may reduce the damage to nerve cells. Spinal cord patients can receive physical therapy treatment to help with skill-building activities in addition to social and emotional support. Electrical stimulation of nerves by neural prosthetic devices may restore specific functions, like bladder, breathing, cough, and arm and leg movements.
Spinal cord injuries can be classified as complete or incomplete injuries. Incomplete injury means the spinal cord can still convey messages to or from the brain, thus retaining some motor or sensory functions below the injury. A complete injury means the patient lacks sensory or motor function below the level of the injury.
Patients who suffer from a spinal cord injury will likely experience medical complications such as chronic pain, increased susceptibility to respiratory or heart problems, and bladder or bowel dysfunction.
If you live in South Carolina and have sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of a automobile accident or other traumatic injury, contact Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC, lawyers dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims.
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