Trauma resulting from a vehicle crash is one of the top causes of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the U.S.
Symptoms of SCI vary. If you are the victim of a car accident, what should you do if you think you might have a spinal injury?
About the spinal cord
The spinal cord is a column of nerves that carry impulses or messages from the brain to other parts of the body. It is sensitive to injury, which could occur due to a sudden, violent blow that either dislocates or fractures the vertebrae. If damaged, the spinal cord is unable to repair itself. Treatment may require hospitalization followed by a rehabilitation program.
Kinds of injury
There are two types of SCI: complete injury and incomplete injury. Someone who suffers a complete SCI will lose the ability to feel anything below the site of the injury. With an incomplete injury, the person will retain some level of functioning. The more serious symptoms include loss of mobility or an inability to feel heat or cold. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, digestive problems, muscle spasms or lack of bladder control.
How to respond
If you suspect some level of SCI following a vehicle crash, it is important for you to remain as still as possible. Do not unlock your seat belt or do anything else that could cause movement in your head, neck or back. Wait until medical professionals arrive to assess your condition.
If the diagnosis is SCI, you may need extended treatment, which can be costly. As the victim of a crash, you can rely on an advocate to negotiate full and fair compensation on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your spinal cord injury.