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Common Causes Of Spinal Cord Injuries

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Spinal Cord Injury Overview

A spinal cord injury (cauda equina damage) usually leads to long-term modifications in strength, sensation, and other bodily activities below the site of impact and there are a number of consequences for spinal cord injuries.

It’s easy to believe that everything in your life is altered following a spinal cord injury. You might suffer the aftereffects of your accident emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Many researchers are confident that advances in research will one day allow spinal cord injuries to be repaired and healed. There are ongoing research projects all around the world. In the meantime, therapies and rehabilitation enable many people with spinal cord injuries to live full, independent lives.

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms


The severity of your spinal cord injury is determined by two things: the position of the damage on your spinal cord, and how serious it is.

The neurological level of your injury is the lowest point in your spinal cord that has not been damaged after an accident. The severity of the damage is known as “the completeness” and is categorized as one of the following:

  • Complete Spinal Injury

     If all feeling (sensory) and mobility (motor function) below the spinal cord injury has been lost, your accident is considered total.

  • Incomplete Spinal Injury

     If you have motor or sensory function below the wounded region, it’s called an incomplete injury. There are many types of incomplete injuries.

Spinal cord injuries can also cause paralysis, which is known as:

  • Tetraplegia

     This refers to a group of injuries that have paralyzed your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs on one side of your body.

  • Paraplegia

     Paralysis of the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs is a term used to characterize this condition.

The health care team will conduct a series of examinations to establish the neurological level and completeness of your injury.

Spinal cord injuries might cause any of the following symptoms and signals:

  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
  • Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
  • Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs

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Emergency Signs And Symptoms

After an accident, signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Back pain or pressure in your neck, head, or back
  • Inability to walk, tremors or spasms of the hands and legs, or difficulty eating or drinking.
  • You may also experience numbness, tingling, or a loss of feeling in your hands, fingers, feet, or toes.
  • Urinary or bowel control is lost
  • Difficulty walking and keeping balance
  • Impaired breathing after injury
  • A weak neck or back that is out of alignment or bent in an odd manner

When To See A Doctor


Anyone who has suffered major head or neck trauma needs to be evaluated for an acute spinal injury right away. In fact, it’s most prudent to assume that trauma victims have a spinal problem until evidence suggests otherwise because:

  • A severe spinal injury isn’t always immediately obvious. If it is not recognized, more significant damage could occur.
  • Numbness or paralysis might be sudden or develop slowly.
  • The time it takes for you to get treatment following an injury might be essential in determining the degree and severity of consequences, as well as the potential recovery.

If You Have Concerns About Someone’s Back Or Neck Pain

  • Do not disturb the injured person; permanent paralysis and other serious problems may result if you move him.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency medical assistance number
  • Keep the person still
  • Place heavy towels on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck to prevent them from moving until emergency care arrives
  • Provide basic first aid, such as stopping bleeding and making the person comfortable, without moving the head or neck

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries


Spinal cord injuries can occur as a result of damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.

A debilitating spinal cord injury can be caused by a sudden, forceful blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more of your vertebrae. 

The damage may take weeks or months to heal, owing to bleeding, edema (swelling), inflammation, and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord.

Arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections, or disk degeneration of the spine can all cause a nontraumatic spinal cord injury.

Your Brain And Central Nervous System


The brain, spinal cord, and the nerves that connect them make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord is made of soft tissue and is encased by bones (vertebrae). It extends from the base of your brain down to your limbs and contains nerve cells as well as tracts, which transport messages to various regions of your body.

The conus medullaris is where the lower end of your spinal cord terminates, just above your waist. The cauda equina is a collection of nerve roots located below this area.

Spinal cord tracts carry information between your brain and the rest of your body. Motor tracts transmit messages from your brain to control muscular movement. Sensory tracts transport signals from various parts of the body to your brain regarding heat, cold, pressure, pain, and limb position.

Damage To Nerve Fibers


The damage is caused by the injury, whether it’s traumatic or non-traumatic. Damage to nerve fibers passing through the injured region impairs part of or all of the muscles and nerves below the site.

A chest (thoracic) or lower back (lumbar) injury can affect your entire body, as well as your legs, bowels and bladders. A neck (cervical) injury affects the same areas as a shoulder dislocation, with the addition of affecting your arm movements and possibly your ability to breathe.

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Common Causes Of Spinal Cord Injuries


The most frequent causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States are:

  • Motor vehicle Accidents

     Auto and motorbike accidents are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries, accounting for over half of new injuries each year.

  • Falls

     Falls are the most common reason for a spinal cord injury after age 65 and may also occur in the workplace.

  • Acts Of Violence

    Gunshot wounds are responsible for 12% of spinal cord injuries, usually in the form of severe lacerations. Knives are also a prevalent cause of injury.

  • Sports And Recreation Injuries

     Impact sports and diving in shallow water account for about 10% of spinal cord injuries.

  • Diseases

     Spinal cord injuries can be caused by cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammation of the spinal cord.

Spinal Injury Risk Factors


Although a spinal cord injury can happen to anybody, there are certain conditions that increase your risk of having one, including:

  • Being male. Spinal cord injuries affect a far greater number of males than females. In reality, women account for just 20% of spinal cord injuries in the United States.

  • Being between the ages of 16 and 30. The majority of spinal cord injuries occur in people between the ages of 15 and 30.

  • Being 65 and older. The number of spinal cord injuries spikes at age 65. Falls are the most common cause of injuries in older people.

  • Alcohol use. Alcohol use is involved in about 25 % of traumatic spinal cord injuries.

  • Engaging in risky behavior. Diving into excessively shallow water or engaging in sports without wearing the required safety gear or making necessary precautions can result in spinal cord injuries. For people under the age of 65, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord damage.

  • Having certain diseases. A minor accident, such as a fall or a collision, might result in spinal cord damage if you have another condition that affects your joints or bones, such as osteoporosis.

Spinal Injury Complications


At first, the changes in your body’s functions may be frightening. Your rehabilitation team will assist you in developing techniques to deal with the modifications caused by the spinal cord injury, as well as suggest equipment and resources to help you live a better life and become more independent. 

The following are just a few of the places that may be affected:

  • Bladder control. Your bladder will keep accumulating urine from your kidneys, despite the fact that your brain may not be controlling it as effectively owing to a damaged message transmitter (the spinal cord).

  • Bladder control deteriorates as you get older. Urinary tract infection rates rise as a result of the changes in bladder control. Changes in bladder control may also induce kidney infections and kidney or bladder stones. You’ll discover methods to assist empty your bladder during rehabilitation.
  • Control of your bowels is severely limited after a spinal cord injury. Although your stomach and intestines function similarly to before your accident, controlling bowel movements may be difficult. A high-fiber diet might help you keep track of your stools, and you’ll discover methods to handle them during rehabilitation.
  • Pressure injuries can happen when your skin is pierced in the wrong place or with enough force. You may have lost some or all of your feeling below the neurological level of your injury. As a result, if you apply pressure to an area of injured skin for an extended period of time, it won’t be able to send a signal to your brain. This can make you more susceptible to pressure sores, but changing positions frequently — with help, if needed can help prevent these sores. You’ll learn proper skincare during rehabilitation, which can help you avoid these problems.
  • Circulatory control. Low blood pressure when you stand (orthostatic hypotension) and limb swelling are two examples of circulatory issues that can result from a spinal cord injury. These circulation changes might also raise your risk of forming blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolus. A potentially fatal increase in blood pressure is another hazard of circulatory control (autonomic dysreflexia). If you have any, your rehabilitation staff will show you how to address them.
  • Respiratory system. Coughing and breathing difficulties may be caused by an injury to your abdominal and chest muscles.
  • The degree of your neurological damage will determine the sort of breathing difficulties you have. If you have a cervical and thoracic spinal cord injury, you are more likely to get pneumonia or other lung issues. Medications and therapy can help prevent and cure these conditions.
  • Bone density. Osteoporosis, or porcelain fractures of the bones, is one of the risks associated with spinal cord injury. There’s an elevated danger of osteoporosis and bone fractures below the level of damage.
  • Muscle tone. Controlling tightening or motion in the muscles (spasticity) or soft and flaccid muscles without muscle tone (flaccidity) are examples of muscular tone issues experienced by some people with spinal cord injuries.
  • Fitness and wellness. After a spinal cord injury, weight loss and muscle wasting are typical. Limited mobility might lead to a more sedentary life, putting you at risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. To keep an adequate weight, a dietitian can help you eat a healthy diet. Physical and occupational therapists may assist you in creating a fitness and exercise program.
  • Sexual health. After a spinal cord injury, men and women may notice changes in erection and ejaculation; lubrication levels might change for females following a spinal cord injury. Urologists or fertility specialists can help with sexual functioning and fertility issues.
  • Pain. Some people experience discomfort, such as muscular or joint pain, from overuse of particular muscle groups. After a spinal cord trauma, nerve pain is possible, especially in someone with an incomplete injury.
  • Depression. In some individuals, dealing with the effects of a spinal cord injury and living with discomfort induce depression.

Spinal Injury Prevention


If you follow these instructions, your chance of suffering a spinal cord injury may be reduced:

  • Drive safely. One of the most typical causes of spinal cord damage is a vehicle accident. Every time you’re in a moving car, put on your seat belt. Make sure your kids are wearing seat belts or using child safety seats that are appropriate for their age and weight. Children under the age of 12 should always ride in the back seat to avoid airbag injuries.
  • Check water depth before diving. Never dive into a pool unless it’s at least 12 feet (3.7 meters) deep, avoid diving into an aboveground pool, and don’t dive into water if you aren’t sure how deep it is.
  • Prevent falls. To reach high-up objects, use a step stool with a grab bar. Along stairwells, use handrails. Non-slip mats should be used on tile floors and in the shower or tub. Consider installing window guards for small children.
  • Take precautions when playing sports. Wear the recommended safety gear at all times and take all possible precautions. 
  • Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive while high or stoned. Don’t travel with a companion who’s been drinking.

Concentrate on your recovery and let us handle the legal side of things. You may schedule a free consultation and case evaluation by calling Spinal Injury Texas at (888) 308-3998 or completing an online contact form. No fees unless we recover compensation for you. 

The Time to Act is Now 


Act now for a free consultation from our top-rated legal  team to discuss any rights or compensation that you may be entitled.

We will fight to get the maximum compensation owed to you for your injuries and losses.

Complete The Form Or Call – (888) 308-3998

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