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The spinal cord is the connection between the body and the brain. It controls everything from movement and sensation to reflexes and even breathing. When people suffer spinal cord injuries, they can suffer partial or complete paralysis from the site of the injury down. In severe cases where the injury occurs high on the spinal column, victims may become quadriplegic and be unable to breath on their own.
A person’s spinal cord can become damaged in a variety of ways, including disease, assault and workplace injuries. Another common cause is auto accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Because vehicle accidents create huge amounts of force that is transferred to drivers and passengers, occupants can suffer contusions, compressions, and lacerations to their spinal cords before, during, and after impact.
People who suffer spinal cord injuries often experience some loss of movement and sensation. When injuries occur at the highest level of the spine—C1 to C4—they may have complete paralysis throughout their bodies and require constant care and attention.
Mid-level injuries—C5 to C8—often result in partial use of arms and hands, while victims with lower injuries—T1 to T12—may have normal upper body movement. Victims with lower spinal cord injuries—L1 to S5—may have partial movement and sensation in their legs, and some may even be able to walk.
In addition to paralysis and loss of sensation, many spinal cord injury victims also suffer from complications such as:
The circulatory system and skin are at their healthiest when there is frequent movement and changing of positions. Because spinal cord injuries restrict or completely prevent movement, victims are more likely to suffer from blood clots and may need to take medication to reduce their risks. They’re also more likely to develop pressure sores due to the inability to shift their weight.
For many victims, the loss of sensation in affected parts of their body doesn’t eliminate the sensation of pain. Neurogenic pain describes a stinging or burning sensation that many spinal cord injury victims feel in limbs and other parts of their bodies that are affected by paralysis. This pain can be debilitating and often requires treatments like medication, acupuncture, surgery, and even electrical brain implants.
Virtually all spinal cord injuries—even those at the lowest level of the spine—result in partial or complete loss of bladder and bowel control. This can be distressing for victims, as it requires frequent monitoring and strict diets and bathroom regimens. Catheters and medications can help victims manage their condition.
In addition to suffering from myriad physical effects, spinal cord injury victims also face severe psychological challenges. Depression and anxiety are common when victims come to terms with their loss of mobility, independence, and even their careers. Victims also may become depressed due to constant pain and the weakening of their bodies and muscles.
Victims of spinal cord injuries often experience profound changes in their quality of lives and their ability to work and provide for their families. While people with paralysis that affects only their lower bodies and legs may still be able to work, victims with injuries that occur higher on the spinal cord may be completely immobilized and need around-the-clock medical care, making it impossible for them to work.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville spinal cord injury lawyers know how devastating these injuries can be for both victims and their families. Because there is no cure for spinal cord injuries, victims face a lifetime of expensive medical care and reduced or lost wages. Our legal team believes that innocent victims should never have to pay out of pocket for the mistakes of others—especially when the consequences are so profound and life-changing.
If you or someone you know suffered a spinal cord injury in an auto accident, workplace accident, or any other type of accident caused by another person’s or party’s negligence, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ve assisted victims of catastrophic injuries for more than 20 years, and we know what it takes to win. Get in touch with us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.