What is a Spinal Cord Injury?As the term implies, a spinal cord injury is the result of damage applied directly to the spinal cord. Unfortunately, the spinal cord has a far greater impact on the motor function of the body than virtually any other component. This means that a spinal cord injury can have lasting effects on a person’s life.The reason that the spinal cord is so much more valuable than other parts of the body largely has to do with the way in which it is constructed. The spinal cord is largely a collection of various nerves that the spine is designed to protect. Since the spine contains many nerves and is directly connected to the brain, it is largely responsible for the transmission of these nerves back and forth between the brain and other parts of the body.
When the spinal cord then suffers from an injury, it effectively prevents the body from properly sending signals back and forth from the brain to anywhere else. For the person, this lack of signals translates into an inability for them to properly move their muscles. The actual severity of this paralysis largely depends on where the injury took place. If the spinal cord was damaged in a lower section of the back, then it will translate into an inability to move the legs. If a different part of the back is hurt, closer to the neck and brain, then it can unfortunately result in the person losing control of their entire body below the neck.
What Are The Usual Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Although a spinal cord injury can occur from virtually anything, there are a few common events where a spinal injury is far more likely to occur. These types of situations include a violent attack, a swimming pool accident, a car accident, a severe impact from a fall from a great height, and an accident involving electricity. Although most people recognize these types of accidents as potentially doing damage to a spinal cord, not many people consider how dangerous electricity can be. Still, accidents can occur from the least likely of sources, which just emphasizes how prepared people should be at all times. No one wants to dwell on the possibility of injuries from unforeseen events, but that doesn’t mean you should willingly ignore any opportunity to prepare yourself and your family for any possibility.
What Are The Symptoms Associated With Spinal Cord Injuries
As previously mentioned, spinal cord injuries can often result in a person losing all motor function of their body below the source of the injury. This includes an inability to walk, control their bowels and bladder, move their arms, or control the movement of their head. In addition to these common symptoms, there are also plenty of lesser symptoms that can develop as a direct result of a person being incapable of moving their body properly. This can translate into an increased frequency of headaches, pain in the back of the neck beyond the injury, and even unconsciousness. If a person is exhibiting signs of an injury such as shock or unconsciousness, then it’s important to get them medical attention as soon as possible.
Although most people can recognize the effects of a spinal cord injury after the fact, that doesn’t mean people always get the medical attention they need right away. This is why it’s important to seek medical attention immediately following a car accident or other unfortunate event. Even if you think you’re fine immediately after the fact, when your adrenaline is still pumping, you may arrive at the doctor only to find out that your body has been dealing with significant damage that you were simply unaware of. In order to minimize the amount of permanent damage to your body, it’s always a good idea to seek out a doctor and have them give a professional diagnosis, as well as any recommended treatments.
What Should I Do With A Spinal Cord Injury
If an accident has just occurred, and you believe that you or someone you know might be suffering from a spinal cord injury, then your next step should be to call 911 immediately. As mentioned before, medical attention is heavily time-dependent. The sooner you can get help to yourself or to someone else, the better the chances of them emerging relatively unscathed.
While waiting for medical teams to arrive, don’t move the person you suspect of having a spinal cord injury. Yes, this also includes attempting to remove any helmet or alter the position of their head in anyway. Let the experienced medical personnel handle any re-positioning that might need to occur. Instead of manipulating the victim after the accident, you should instead devote your time to recording everything that has happened. If it was an accident where liability needs to be determined, you should contact a personal injury lawyer and start having a discussion about possible legal actions.
After speaking to a lawyer, your next step will be to start recording everything that has taken place. Regardless of whether you think the information will be relevant, it’s always a good idea to note down anything and everything that occurred after the accident. This will not only help you in the future, it will also give your lawyer plenty of information to build your case around. By being studious after an accident, you can also greatly improve your chances of receiving a larger payout from your insurance company. If you or someone you know is dealing with a spinal cord injury, then every bit of financial help will be welcomed.
In addition to stopping yourself from moving the victim, make sure you tell them to stay still as well. Even if they insist that they’re not in as bad shape as it seems, convince them to stay still. Moving after a serious injury can make an injury far more severe than it already is. Of course, there is one exception to this rule. If someone is no longer breathing, then it is entirely appropriate to move their body in the course of CPR. In this case though, it’s important not to move the head all the way back. Instead, simply tilt their jaw forward to help gain access to their breathing passageway.
After trained medical personnel have arrived on the scene, they will take the victim back to the hospital, at which point doctors can then perform more rigorous tests to determine the extent of the damage.
How Can I Prevent a Spinal Cord Injury?
Although it’s been said for many years now, one of the most important things you can do to protect your spine is to wear a seat belt in the car. Although many states have laws related to riding in a car with a seat belt, there are still far too many cases of people ignoring the law and putting their lives in serious jeopardy. Don’t be one of those people.
Aside from car accidents, the other most popular causes of spinal cord injuries are typically sporting events and swimming pools. In the case of the former, wearing the proper protective gear at all times is highly recommended. Sports are a great way to relieve stress, but that doesn’t mean you should get so carefree that you put your body at an unnecessary risk. In regards to swimming pools, the simplest advice is to never go diving into a pool that’s less than at least six feet deep. If you want to be especially safe, don’t dive into any pool that you haven’t at least examined first. Of course, this applies even more so to lakes and ponds, where hidden rocks can cause serious damage to an unaware driver.
Who to Contact After a Spinal Cord Injury
If you or someone you know has suffered from a brain & spinal cord injury, whether it was from a workplace accident, a car accident, or a different issue altogether, then please do not hesitate to contact Flint & Soyars P.C. We have many years of experience in helping victims get the money they deserve, whether it be from a lawsuit, an insurance claim, or any other legal arbitration they require. We’ll fight for you through each phase of the claims process and make sure that you’re properly taken care of in the end.