Due to spinal cord injuries, people may experience a range of effects, including partial or total paralysis, as well as other long-term complications.
Each year, approximately 17,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries across the U.S., according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. For people in New York and elsewhere, these injuries may occur due to motor vehicle collisions, construction site accidents, scaffold or ladder accidents, work-related accidents, slips and falls, sports accidents or for any other number of reasons. Regardless of their cause, suffering a spinal cord injury is frightening and people often do not understand what it means or what to expect immediately following their injuries and over time.
What are spinal cord injuries?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves running down the spine, which carries messages back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. A sudden, traumatic blow may cause the vertebrae to fracture or dislocate. Consequently, pieces of the vertebrae may press down on the spinal cord or tear into it or through it.
The severity of spinal cord injuries is classified as incomplete and complete. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have incomplete spinal cord injuries retain some level of sensory or motor function, while those with complete spinal cord injuries do not.
Common symptoms of spinal cord injuries
People who suffer spinal cord injuries may experience a range of symptoms. The Mayo Clinic points out that some of the most common of these include the following:
- Weakness or incoordination
- Strong stinging sensation
- Loss of movement or feeling
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Difficulty breathing, clearing throat or coughing
The types of signs and symptoms that people experience as a result of spinal cord injuries may vary depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury.
Complications resulting from spinal cord injuries
The potential for partial or total paralysis and other symptoms are not the only effects of spinal cord injuries. Due to the injuries themselves or their resulting signs, people may also suffer from long-term complications. For example, changes in bladder control may contribute to the development of kidney stones, bladder stones or kidney infections, as well as an increased risk for urinary tract infections. These injuries may also make people more susceptible to developing blood clots, pressure sores or other serious conditions. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, those who suffer spinal cord injuries may be more likely to suffer heart and respiratory problems.
Obtaining legal assistance
People in New York frequently require immediate medical treatment after suffering spinal cord injuries. Additionally, they may also need ongoing care to help manage their symptoms and complications. This often carries undue costs and may also cause people to lose income while they are off of work recovering. If the negligence or recklessness of another caused their spinal cord injuries, however, that party may be held liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, those who have suffered such injuries may find it helpful to consult with an attorney to discuss their options for seeking compensation.