You may associate a spinal cord injury, or SCI, with a painful fall or a bad hit on the football field, but more than half of such injuries result from vehicle crashes.
There are two types of SCI. It is not uncommon for either to occur in a sudden collision.
Your spinal cord is the vehicle for carrying impulses from the brain to other parts of your body. A car crash can interrupt this important mission in an instant. Spinal cord injury results from a traumatic impact to the nerves themselves or as the residual effect of damage to the bones, soft tissues and blood vessels surrounding the spinal cord.
In a complete SCI, you would lose feeling completely below the site of the injury. For example, if the location of the injury is in the upper portion of the spine, paralysis of your arms and legs would likely occur. In a case of incomplete SCI where the lower back is the site of the injury, paralysis would involve only the legs. In addition to loss of mobility, this kind of injury may cause breathing or bladder control issues, digestive problems and the inability to feel touch, heat or cold.
Treatment for the injury
To date, no cure for spinal cord injury exists, but research is ongoing. In the meantime, it is important for SCI treatment to begin immediately. Acute spinal cord injuries may require surgery, and doctors almost always prescribe physical therapy or other types of rehabilitation to assist patients in returning to as normal a lifestyle as possible. Medications such as corticosteroid drugs are helpful, and prosthetic devices are also beneficial, depending on the location of the injury.
What to expect
If you suffer a spinal cord injury as the result of a vehicle crash caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to expect financial compensation. SCI treatment may take a long time, possibly a lifetime, but a full and fair settlement will provide coverage for your current and future medical expenses and more.