A spinal cord injury can affect all aspects of your life and take a serious emotional, physical and social toll on you and your family. If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, you most likely have a lot of questions about your condition. The attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad help personal injury clients throughout eastern Pennsylvania get through challenging times and believe that understanding the facts about spinal cord injuries and how they affect our clients’ lives is critical to helping us provide the best legal representation possible.
1. The Spinal Cord Is Made Of Nerves That Send Signals To Your Brain
Although you may think of your spinal cord as one long string, it’s comprised of a column of nerves that are protected by a sheath of myelin and vertebrae that support and shield it from harm. It extends from the brainstem to the lumbar region of the vertebral column and is the pathway for communication between the brain and other parts of the body. A spinal cord injury interrupts the exchange of this information, which can cause loss of movement, sensation, and reflexes.
2. The Effects Of Spinal Cord Injuries Vary Widely
There are two basic types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. Complete SCIs are the most severe and eliminate the brain’s ability to send signals below the injury site. For example, if the spinal cord is severely injured or severed in the lumbar (lower back) region, it may result in paralysis below the waist while motor functions in the upper body are unharmed. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are both complete spinal injuries.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries occur when compression or damage to the spinal cord impedes the brain’s ability to send signals below the injury site. Because the spinal cord function is partially compromised, these types of injuries can vary significantly from person to person. Victims of incomplete spinal cord injuries often retain some sensation but struggle with movement, fine motor skills, partial paralysis in the limbs, and loss of bowel or bladder control and sexual function.
3. Spinal Cord Injuries Can Be Caused By Many Different Things
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Slip and fall incidents, sports accidents, surgical errors, gunshot wounds, and physical conditions such as degenerative diseases, cancer, or tumors may also cause SCIs. The cause of a spinal cord injury often factors into the course of treatment and rehabilitation.
4. Spinal Cord Injuries Often Require Long-Term Treatment and Therapy
From surgery to medication to occupational and physical therapy, there are many different treatments for spinal cord injuries. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury and whether you suffer symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Problems with bladder and bowel function
- Frequent infections
- Chronic pain
- Changes in mood or personality
- Loss of libido or sexual function
- Nerve pain
- Chronic muscle pain
5. You May Have To Modify Your Home and Car
If a spinal injury leaves you in a wheelchair, you’ll most likely need to make modifications to your home, such as putting in ramps, widening doorways and hallways, and making bathrooms accessible. Modifying your home and vehicle is very costly. If you were injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, your attorney will take all treatment and modification expenses into account when determining the value of your personal injury claim.
6. A Spinal Cord Injury Affects The Whole Family
A serious spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on your quality of life and the lives of those around you. Your spouse and children may suffer because you’re unable to enjoy things you used to do together like dancing, playing sports and other activities. It can also be tough to learn how to navigate the social aspects of life and manage conditions such as depression and anxiety after a spinal cord injury.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer To Learn More About Spinal Cord Injuries
Our personal injury lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad understand that living with a spinal cord injury can be difficult. We fight to help you get the maximum compensation you need to protect your long-term health and financial security. We proudly serve clients in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Monroe Counties and throughout eastern Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our Bethlehem office at 610-867-2900. We have three additional locations in Topton, Allentown, and Stroudsburg, PA.