Car crashes can happen suddenly and change lives forever, especially when someone suffers a spinal cord injury. When a person injures their spinal cord, it greatly impacts their life, changing their future in unexpected ways. A spinal cord injury can be extremely difficult, affecting mobility, independence, emotions, and finances.
In this blog, we explore spinal cord injuries caused by car accidents. We aim to provide you with insights, guidance, and crucial information that can help you or a loved one navigate this challenging road ahead.
Whether you’re a survivor seeking guidance on the path to rehabilitation, a caregiver providing support, or simply someone interested in learning more about these life-altering events, this blog aims to shed light on the complexities of spinal cord injuries following car accidents.
Spinal cord injuries resulting from car accidents can vary in severity and location along the spinal cord. Typically, experts classify these injuries based on their level and completeness. Here’s a comprehensive list of common spinal cord injuries that can occur because of car accidents:
Spinal cord injuries can vary in severity and the symptoms depend on the location and extent of the injury. Common symptoms and signs that may indicate a possible spinal cord injury include:
One of the hallmark symptoms of an SCI is a loss of motor function below the level of the injury. This can manifest as paralysis or weakness in the limbs or trunk.
Individuals with an SCI may experience a loss of sensation or altered sensation below the level of the injury. This can include numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation.
Diminished or absent reflexes, such as the knee jerk reflex (patellar reflex), can be indicative of a spinal cord injury.
Injuries to the upper neck can affect the nerves that control breathing muscles, making it hard to breathe without help.
Spinal cord injuries can disrupt the normal functioning of the bladder and bowel, resulting in urinary and fecal incontinence.
Spasticity refers to muscle stiffness, spasms, or exaggerated reflexes that can occur below the level of the injury. It can lead to muscle tightness and difficulty with movement.
SCI can impact sexual function, causing erectile dysfunction in men and changes in sensation and function in both genders.
Individuals with SCIs may experience neuropathic pain, which can be burning, shooting, or stabbing in nature. Pain can occur both at the site of injury and in areas below the injury level.
SCI can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature, leading to increased sensitivity to heat or cold.
Autonomic dysreflexia is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in individuals with SCIs above the level of T6. It is characterized by sudden, severe high blood pressure, sweating, and other symptoms.
Diagnosing a spinal cord injury (SCI) typically involves a combination of medical examinations, imaging studies, and clinical assessments. If you have a spinal cord injury, it is crucial to consult a team of medical specialists. They can provide comprehensive care and assistance for various aspects of your condition. The types of medical specialties you should consider consulting with may include:
Neurosurgeons are experts in the surgical treatment of spinal cord injuries. They can assess the need for surgery, perform spinal decompression or stabilization procedures, and manage acute complications related to the injury.
Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the musculoskeletal system and can address fractures, dislocations, and other skeletal injuries often associated with spinal cord injuries. They may also be involved in surgical interventions to stabilize the spine.
PM&R physicians, also known as physiatrists, focus on optimizing function and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. They coordinate rehabilitation programs and therapies to improve mobility and function.
Neurologists diagnose and manage neurological conditions, including spinal cord injuries. They can help with symptom management, prescribe medications, and address neurological complications such as spasticity and neuropathic pain.
Some healthcare centers have specialized SCI teams or clinics. The experts have experience in treating spinal cord injuries. They can provide specific care and advice during your recovery.
Physiotherapists work on mobility, strength, and functional rehabilitation. They design exercise programs to help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and overall physical function.
Occupational therapists assist in regaining the skills needed for daily activities, such as dressing, grooming, and cooking. They focus on enhancing independence and quality of life.
Rehabilitation nurses are trained to care for individuals with spinal cord injuries. They play a crucial role in managing daily medical needs, providing education, and monitoring overall health.
People with chronic pain from spinal cord injuries can receive assistance from pain management specialists. These specialists provide various treatments to alleviate discomfort.
Emotional and psychological well-being is an essential part of recovery. Mental health experts help with ways to cope, emotional support, and treatment for depression or anxiety after an SCI.
Spinal cord injuries can impact bladder and bowel function. Urologists specialize in the management of urinary and reproductive system issues and can help with bladder management strategies.
If your SCI affects respiratory function, a respiratory therapist can provide guidance on breathing exercises, assistive devices like ventilators, and other respiratory care needs.
Recovering from a car accident spinal cord injury is tough for individuals. Call the attorneys at Favret Carriere Cronvich, LLC today for a free consultation on your matter. Our experience and knowledge can lighten your burden and help you get your life back.