Did you know that nearly 450,000 people in the US have spinal cord injury (SCI)? According to the reports of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, every year, nearly 17,000 people experience SCI, costing the nation approximately $9.7 billion.
Not to mention, this type of injury significantly changes the way patients use to live their life. Its impact is not limited to physical trauma. Rather, emotional distress, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues are also negative consequences of SCI.
What Is Spinal Cord Injury?
It is extremely severe damage to the spinal cord, leaving a lasting impact on the daily life of the patient. Generally, the spinal cord is responsible for communicating (sending and receiving) messages between the brain and all other parts of the body. To put it simply, your body is able to recognize physical pain or move limbs due to the messages sent by the brain via the spinal cord.
Thus, if the spinal cord gets injured, for whatever reason, you will experience loss of sensation, either wholly or partially. It can also affect the mobility of the body below the injured portion. You must also know that if the SCI is closer to the neck, it can also cause body paralysis, partial or complete.
What Are The Possible Causes Of SCI?
Most often, SCI is due to an uncertain or unpredictable accident or violent act. It includes:
- Diving into shallow water and hitting the bottom
- Car accident
- A violent attack such as gunshots or stabbing
- Electrical accident
- Falling from height
- Twisting the middle portion of the torso
- Injury during sports
If you or any of your loved ones have been injured, it is essential to seek immediate medical assistance. If the cause of SCI is an accident, you must also call a personal injury law firm to file a lawsuit against the defendant or other party. Attorneys can help you win the case and get rightful financial compensation. Also, make sure not to communicate with the other party in the absence of your attorney, as it can severely affect the case’s outcome.
What Are The Symptoms Of SCI?
The injury affects your ability to control your limbs. It further depends on where the injury occurred and how serious it is? The common symptoms of SCI are:
- Inability to move legs or arms
- Difficulty in walking
- Feeling numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Severe headache
- Signs of shock
- Loss of control of bowels or bladder
- Stiffness in the neck and back area, including unbearable pain
- Unnatural positioning of the head
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel cold, heat, or touch
- Difficulty breathing
In case the injury is due to a car accident, look for the following signs:
- Weakness, difficulty coordinating, or paralysis in any body part
- Numbness in hands, fingers, feet, or toes
- Unbearable back pain or pressure in your neck, back, or head
- Weaken breathing after the accident
- Difficulty in maintaining body balance
- Challenging to stand or walk
What Should You Do If You Suspect SCI?
If you believe that you or your loved one is going through the pain of SCI, take the following steps:
- Immediately call 911 or an ambulance.
- Do not move the person unless extremely necessary. It also includes an attempt to remove a helmet or reposition the person’s head.
- Ensure the person stays still as long as possible to minimize the damage. Even if the person is able to get up or walk, avoid making physical movements.
- Perform CPR if the person is not breathing.
- If the person is bleeding, try to stop it using a clean cloth.
The doctors will perform several tests at the hospital, including neurological exams, to determine where the injury is and how severe it is. The tests that doctors will perform may include:
- MRI and CT scan
- X-ray of spinal cord
- Evoked potential testing
Note: Know that the time between injury and treatment is very critical. So you must hurry and contact the ambulance.
How To Prevent Spinal Cord Injury?
SCI is often an unfortunate and unpredictable event, yet it is important that you take the following preventive measures:
- Wearing protective gear while driving or playing sports.
- Fastening your seatbelt and following traffic rules.
- Not to dive into water without examining its depth.
If your injury is due to someone else’s negligence, make sure to contact the attorney and get justice.
To Sum It All Up
Spinal cord injury is very severe and halts your life. You will not be able to move freely or do anything at all without someone else’s support or assistance. Therefore, you must stay cautious and seek rightful treatment to improve your health.