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Spinal cord injuries are often the most catastrophic injuries that significantly impact an injury victim’s life and the lives of their loved ones for years. Spinal cord injuries do not stop at just impacting the physical well-being of a person; they also impact the emotional and financial aspects of all involved. What makes these types of injuries even more devastating is that in many cases the brain is still fully functional when the rest of the body is not, and it leads to mild, moderate, or severe depression and other problems. Sadly, young males account for the highest percentage of spinal cord injuries each year.
The spine, or back bone, is made up of a series of bones that run from the bottom of your brain to your buttocks area. Each bone has an open, round, middle section where the spinal cord or nerves are located. The spine consists of 4 different regions: Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, and Sacral. Each region is responsible for movement and sensation in a certain area of your body. The Cervical area is responsible for nerves that supply your head and neck region, diaphragm, arms, wrist and hands. The Thoracic area is responsible for your chest and abdominal or stomach muscles. The Lumbar area is responsible for your legs, feet and toes. The Sacral area is responsible for your bowel, bladder, and sexual functions.
Where the insult to your back bone or spine was will determine what functions may be diminished or permanently lost. If the insult was to the cervical area, everything below the cervical area will be affected. If the injury was to the thoracic area, everything below the thoracic area will be affected. In other words, the higher up the injury on the spinal column, the more devastating the disability. The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves running from the base of the brain down the middle of the back. Spinal cord injuries are generally the result of a traumatic blow to the spine which dislocates or fractures vertebrae, delay in diagnosis of an infection at the spinal cord, and pressure being applied to the spinal cord. In most cases, these injuries do not completely sever the spinal cord but instead destroy the nerve endings that carry signals between the brain and the body along the spinal cord. When this happens, there may be a loss of sensation and movement. Paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegia) or paralysis of the lower half of the body (paraplegia) may result from a spinal cord injury. Victims of these injuries tend to have shortened life spans. Other health problems may include bladder and bowel complications, inability to regulate blood pressure, decreased control of body temperature, chronic pain, and increased susceptibility to respiratory disease.
Injuries to the spinal column are often seen after a fall, trauma, assault, motor vehicle accident, aviation accident, motorcycle accident, diving accident, auto accident, roll over, motorcycle accident, work injury, fall in a manhole, or a sports accident. Other causes are hematomas or blood clots, masses or tumor growth, swelling, irritation, misplaced screws or hardware during back surgery, infections, or fractured bones that cut or injure the nerves.
Any injury to the spinal column can cause paraplegia or quadriplegia, motor deficits, sensory deficits, numbness, tingling, pain, paralysis, loss of bowel or bladder function, sexual dysfunction, inability to breathe on your own, inability to regulate your blood pressure, decubitus or pressure ulcers, infections, additional accidents, depression, and financial hardship.
A number of factors may come into play in the case of spinal cord injuries, depending on the nature of the injury and the severity of the damage. Individuals may face extensive medical bills, a loss of income, physical restrictions and the need for care, to name just a few of the consequences. It may be useful to speak to an experienced spinal cord injury attorney who has helped individuals and their families in similar situations. The experienced Dayton spinal injury lawyers of The O’Keefe Firm understand how spinal cord injuries can significantly impact your life as well as the lives of your loved ones. We fought hard for people that unnecessarily suffered an injury to the spinal cord that has drastically altered their life.