A vehicle accident does not have to be a major event to cause a serious spinal cord injury.
This part of the body is very fragile. If the spinal cord suffers damage, the injury may result in paralysis, possibly requiring lifelong care.
How SCI occurs
A spinal cord injury, or SCI, usually develops because of some kind of trauma, such as the impact of a vehicle collision. The crash does not have to be significant; even a low-speed rear-end collision can cause a victim serious injury. The spinal cord is responsible for carrying impulses from the brain to other parts of the body. This part of the body is vulnerable to injury if an accident causes vertebrae fractures or dislocation. Unfortunately, if damaged, the spinal cord cannot repair itself. If the injury occurs close to the neck, paralysis to both arms and legs can occur. If the location is the lower back, paralysis may only affect the legs.
How treatment works
A spinal cord injury is not always immediately apparent. If symptoms include coughing or breathing difficulties, for example, but no loss of mobility, SCI may only be one of several possible causes. However, a series of diagnostic tests, such as MRIs, CT scans and myelograms, among others, will enable physicians to confirm the diagnosis. This is one example of the necessity to seek prompt medication attention following any kind of vehicle crash, however minor.
How patients fare
Currently, doctors cannot reverse spinal cord damage, but treatment that includes neural prosthetic devices, electrical nerve stimulation and medication can help patients resume as normal a lifestyle as possible. SCI can happen in an instant, and vehicle crashes cause over 50% of such injuries annually. Almost all patients require some form of rehabilitation, and many need lifelong care. Those who suffer spinal cord injuries due to the negligence of others have the right to expect financial compensation to cover their medical expenses and more—even for the rest of their lives.