It’s devastating to suffer a spinal cord injury. If you’re fortunate enough to still have the use of your limbs, you will likely feel sharp pain every time you move. Your muscles are stiff and weak. You might lose control of your bladder. You might feel numbness and tingling in your arms and legs. Perhaps, you’ll never be able to return to work.
If you need an Atlanta spinal cord injury attorney, our team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you. If you have an incomplete spinal cord injury, spinal cord damage, cervical spinal cord injury, spinal cord trauma, spinal stenosis from a car accident, or a brain and spinal cord injury, you may be able to recover compensation, including spinal stenosis car accident settlements. Contact our experienced Atlanta injury lawyers at (404) 419-6674 or through our online form to schedule a free, initial consultation.
The Function of the Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is a collection of 31 nerves that start at your brain and travel all the way down your back. These nerves enable you to move your arms and legs by accepting signals from your brain. The nerves that make up the spinal cord control the physical movement and the function of your organs, such as your bladder, lungs, and heart. Since the spinal cord is vital for all of your bodily functions and consists of many different nerves, there are a wide range of potential spinal cord injuries depending upon the location of the damage.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Unfortunately there are many possible ways that you or someone you know may have suffered a spinal cord injury. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents – such as car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents
- Construction accidents – employees doing physical labor are typically around heavy machinery, large vehicles, and other conditions that put them at a higher risk for suffering a spinal cord injury at work.
- Slip and fall accidents – abruptly falling can lead to spinal cord injuries, especially when the injury happens on someone else’s property where they may not know how to treat a spinal injury.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
Common spinal cord injury symptoms are muscle weakness, fatigue, loss of feeling in parts of your body, and problems controlling your bladder. The higher the injury on your spine, the greater damage because all bodily functions that fall below the injured site are harmed. Quadriplegics (those who are immobilized from the neck down) typically have suffered a catastrophic injury to their cervical spine.
Diagnosing spinal cord injuries generally starts with a physical examination to see if you have lost sensation in various parts of your body. If you have lost sensation, x-rays, CT-scans and MRIs can be useful to closely examine the spinal cord and identify the injury site. It is important that you get any spinal cord injury treated immediately. The sooner a spinal cord injury is treated the better the chances are for recovery.
When a spinal cord injury is diagnosed, the first step is often to administer steroids to decrease swelling and inflammation in the spinal cord. However, steroids can be risky and they are usually only helpful if you receive them within eight hours of your injury. Surgery is also an option to treat spinal cord injuries if conservative treatment fails.
There are two typical goals of spinal cord surgery:
- Taking pressure off of the spinal cord
- Stabilizing the spine
Rehabilitation is the next step towards treating a spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation programs, such as occupational and physical therapy, are typically long-term and help you regain as much function as possible. Spinal cord injury treatment and rehabilitation can be expensive and usually requires you to miss significant time from work. Because of this, many spinal cord injury patients develop depression, which can lead to substance abuse. A positive outlook reinforced by family support is very important for patients undergoing rehabilitation.
Common Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are as common as they are serious. About 12,000 people injure their spinal cord every year in the United States, either through blood clotting, tumors, loss of blood supply, or trauma. Based upon the mechanism of injury, there are many different kinds of injuries you can experience.
Paraplegia versus Quadriplegia
There are two types of paralysis that can occur from spinal cord injuries: paraplegia and quadriplegia. Paraplegia affects any part of the legs or pelvic region. Quadriplegia, sometimes called tetraplegia, affects the entire body below the neck, often leaving patients fully paralyzed.
Complete versus Incomplete
A complete spinal cord injury occurs when there is total loss of muscle function in the nerves below the damaged nerve. Complete spinal cord injuries typically affect both sides of the body. An incomplete spinal cord injury, by contrast, still enables muscles to function below the damaged nerve. Like a complete spinal cord injury, incomplete spinal cord injuries typically affect both sides of the body.
Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Cervical spinal cord injuries are injuries to the first seven nerves in the spinal cord. They are the most severe spinal cord injury. Oftentimes, cervical spinal cord injuries cause limited, if any, feeling below the neck. Cervical spinal cord injuries are often the most likely to be fatal as they are closer to the brain and affect the majority of your bodily functions.
Spinal stenosis occurs when your spinal discs compress the nerves in your spine. Spinal stenosis can be degenerative meaning that it can be caused by bone overgrowth, tumors, or deterioration of the cartilage between nerves that naturally occurs over time. Spinal stenosis is also frequently caused by traumatic accidents.
Our Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Can Help You
If you suffer from a spinal cord injury due to a work- or car-related accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. Our experienced spinal cord injury lawyers can help you navigate your debilitating accident and determine what kind of compensation you may be eligible to receive. Spinal cord injuries are serious and can affect every aspect of your life. Let us help relieve your suffering. Contact our Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC by calling (404) 419-6674 to schedule your initial free consultation.