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December 21, 2021

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?

Although great strides are being made in spinal cord injury research, no cure has been found for these injuries. With appropriate medical care, some victims may be able to recover a degree of function. However, it is extremely rare for spinal cord injury victims to make a complete recovery.

Numerous factors play a role in determining if an accident victim recovers from a spinal cord injury. The location and severity of the injury are two of the most significant factors, but the ability to receive prompt medical attention also plays a role. Because of this, it is beneficial to understand the signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury and seek medical care as quickly as possible after an accident. 

The Providence spinal cord injury attorneys at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. know that spinal cord injuries often demand a lifetime of care. This requires full compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and long-term care. If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, and you suspect the injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, contact our office as soon as possible for a free case review. Our experienced attorneys can assess the merits of your case and explain your rights and legal options.

Common Signs of Spinal Cord Injuries

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center estimates that approximately 17,500 people suffer from a spinal cord injury every year. Some of these accident victims suffer permanent paralysis. Understanding spinal cord injuries is the key to a better future and obtaining the money you need to put your life back together again.

There are numerous signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury. Accident victims whose lower back or lumbar region of the spine is damaged may retain full function in their arms, but lack feeling or movement in their legs. Injury victims who experience damage to the neck or cervical region of the spine may experience a loss of movement in their lower extremities, trunk, and arms. 

Some of the most common signs of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing or coughing
  • Pain or stinging in nerves
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of sensation

Long-Term Symptoms of a Spinal Cord

People with spinal cord injuries may experience some or all of the following symptoms throughout their life:

  • Difficulty breathing or coughing
  • Trouble walking or maintaining balance
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain, which can range from mild to severe
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Loss of feeling or change in feeling
  • Loss of movement of certain parts of the body

The symptoms experienced by a spinal cord injury victim depend on the severity of the injury and which part of the spinal cord is affected.

Symptoms by Spinal Cord Region

There are three primary regions in which someone may suffer spinal cord injury: lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. 

  • Lumbar: Damage to the lumbar section of the spinal cord usually affects one or both legs. People who suffer damage to this area may have trouble controlling their bladder and/or bowel function.
  • Thoracic: Damage to the thoracic region of the spinal cord generally affects the legs. Damage high up in the thoracic area can affect blood pressure.
  • Cervical: Damage to the cervical area of the spinal cord can affect the legs, mid-body, arms, and even the ability to breathe on one’s own. The higher up in the cervical spine the damage occurs, the more extensive the injury.

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries

Although there are no complete remedies for spinal cord injuries, recent advancements in treatments and rehabilitation allow victims to regain some motor function and sensation. These treatments can help people lead independent and productive lives.

Treatment for spinal cord injuries can include:

  • Medication: Prescription drugs are often used to manage pain and muscle spasticity. Medication is also administered to improve bladder and bowel control or sexual function.
  • Rehabilitation: Spinal cord injury victims can learn how to cope with the effects of their injuries through rehabilitation. This can also help to prevent complications in some cases and may allow people to regain as much independence as possible.
  • Surgery: Surgical procedures may be required in some cases of spinal cord injury. Surgeons may need to repair herniated discs or fractured vertebrae or remove foreign objects or bone fragments.
  • Immobilization: Traction and immobilization of the neck and spine may be necessary to properly align the spine and allow the body to rest and reduce inflammation and swelling.

Contact Our Providence Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Today

Spinal cord injury victims often require extensive care and rehabilitation. Family members may have to put their own lives on hold while they become caregivers to accommodate their loved one’s new injury and impairment. Even when spinal cord injuries are not permanent, they can result in a lifetime of pain, suffering, and trauma.

If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury after an accident, it is important to know where you can turn for help.

See our results.

Call Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd today at (401) 273-8330 for a free initial consultation. We know the long and arduous fight spinal cord injury survivors face, and we are here to fight alongside you every step of the way.