Kentucky spinal cord injuries: The basics

Due to auto accidents and other incidents, people may suffer spinal cord injuries, which may result in potentially life changing symptoms and complications.

Due to motor vehicle collisions, slips-and-falls, assaults and numerous other accidents, people in Kentucky and elsewhere may suffer catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord injuries. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that as many as 12,000 people across the U.S. suffer such injuries each year. Those who experience spinal cord injuries are often left wondering what to expect and how their daily lives will be affected.

What are spinal cord injuries?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the spinal cord is a bundle of neural cells, blood vessels and neural pathways. This bundle extends from the brain to the low back and serves to carry and receive messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Indirect trauma to the soft tissues or vertebrae that surround the spinal cord, as well as direct trauma to the spinal cord nerves, may result in spinal cord injuries. This is the case if the such trauma bruises, tears, severs or puts pressure on the spinal cord.

Spinal cord injuries may be classified as either complete or incomplete. WebMD points out that people who suffer complete spinal cord injuries lose all of the feeling and voluntary movement below their injuries. With incomplete spinal cord injuries, however, people may still have some sensation and mobility below their injuries.

What are the symptoms of spinal cord injuries?

People who suffer spinal cord injuries may have a range of symptoms and effects. The symptoms they may experience generally vary depending on the type and severity of their injuries. Some of the most common spinal cord injury symptoms include the following:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Stinging sensation
  • Weakness
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of bowel control or bladder control

Additionally, spinal cord injuries may cause people to lose their motor function, resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia.

What are the complications of spinal cord injuries?

There are numerous complications that may result from spinal cord injuries and their effects. For instance, breathing difficulties may lead to lung problems such as pneumonia. The Mayo Clinic points out that spinal cord injuries may cause people to experience circulatory issues including swelling in their extremities, orthostatic hypotension, autonomic hyperreflexia and an increased risk of developing blood clots. People who have suffered spinal cord injuries may also be more susceptible to pressure sores as a result of having lost feeling in their skin.

How are spinal cord injuries treated?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the damage sustained to the spinal cord as a result of auto accidents and other incidents cannot be reversed. Therefore, spinal cord injury treatments are aimed at helping people control and cope with their symptoms and preventing them from being injured further. Those who suffer such injuries may be sedated, immobilized or require surgery. They may also be given medications to help decrease inflammation, limit damage to their nerve cells and prevent possible complications. Often, people require physical and occupational therapy following spinal cord injuries to strengthen their muscle functions, redevelop their fine motor skills and help them learn adaptive techniques.

Consulting with an attorney

Spinal cord injuries may have life altering implications for people in Kentucky, as well as for their families. They may require extensive medical treatment and may be left unable to work for an extended period of time, or permanently. When such injuries are the result of another's negligence, the person responsible may be liable for the resulting damages. Thus, those who have suffered spinal cord injuries in a car collision or some other accident may benefit from working with an attorney to understand their options for seeking financial compensation.