A spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that causes either temporary or permanent changes to its function. Common changes include loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic function in parts of the body served by the spinal cord below the level of the injury.
Injuries can occur at any level of the spinal cord and can be classified as complete injury (i.e., a total loss of sensation and muscle function) or incomplete (i.e., some nervous signals are able to travel past the injured area of the cord). Depending on the location and severity of damage along the spinal cord, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain or numbness to paralysis to incontinence. The prognosis also ranges widely, from full recovery in rare cases to permanent quadriplegia in injuries at the level of the neck, and paraplegia in lower injuries. Complications that can occur in the short and long term after injury include muscle atrophy, pressure sores, infections, and respiratory problems.
In the majority of cases the damage results from physical trauma such as car accidents and slip/trip and falls. Treatment of spinal cord injuries starts with stabilizing the spine and controlling inflammation to prevent further damage. Other interventions needed can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the injury, from bed rest to surgery. In many cases, spinal cord injuries require substantial, long-term physical and occupational therapy, especially if they interfere with activities of daily living.
At Wolfe Lawyers we have a great deal of experience with the entire spectrum of this type of injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury contact Wolfe Lawyers to arrange a free consultation and put our expertise to work.
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