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What Will Happen to Your Body if You Have Damaged Your Spinal Cord Due to a Car Accident?

Spinal cord injuries are often devastating for victims. These injuries can lead to various levels of paralysis and completely change the way a person lives their life. One of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries is vehicle accidents. Here, we want to discuss what a person can expect after sustaining a spinal cord injury caused by a vehicle accident, particularly related to how their body will react. The reality is that the severity of these injuries varies significantly from incident to incident, and no two spinal cord injury victims will experience the exact same symptoms.

Vehicle Accidents and Spinal Cord Injuries

Data available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) paints a pretty clear picture when it comes to understanding the causes of spinal cord injuries. Since 2015, vehicle accidents have caused 38.2% of all spinal cord injuries across the US. The reality is that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is likely the most dangerous thing that most of us do, and a collision can completely alter our lives.

The Symptoms of These Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is responsible for sending messages from our brains to the rest of our body, and any damage to the spine can have disastrous consequences on our lives.

It is crucial to understand that there are various levels of spinal cord injuries that can occur. Some spinal cord injuries, including high quadriplegia, can result in a person experiencing complete paralysis from the point of the injury down (this typically means from the neck area down). Other spinal cord injury victims may experience what is called lower tetraplegia, where they are only paralyzed from the waist area down. 

Not all spinal cord injury victims experience complete paralysis, but they can still suffer from a range of other symptoms as a result of the injury. As we review some of the main symptoms of a spinal cord injury, please understand that no two injuries are exactly alike. Some spinal cord injury victims may experience most of these symptoms, while others may experience only one or two:

  • Problems walking
  • A loss of control of the bowels or bladder
  • Inability to move arms or legs (complete or partial paralysis)
  • Feelings of numbness throughout the body and extremities
  • Constant headaches
  • Pain, pressure, or stiffness in the back or neck area
  • Trouble focusing
  • Problems with balance

It is crucial for any person who has been involved in a vehicle accident to seek immediate medical care. Often, the adrenaline that rushes through our bodies after a crash occurs can mask the signs and symptoms of serious injuries. Yes, in many cases, it will be very obvious that a spinal cord injury has occurred, particularly if there is any level of paralysis. However, some spinal cord injury signs and symptoms may not appear until hours or days after a vehicle accident. 

A few things determine a spinal cord injury victim’s ability to recover. The first is the severity of the initial incident, which is out of the control of the victim. However, how quickly a person receives medical treatment and the effectiveness of that treatment also play a major role in a spinal cord injury victim’s recovery.

If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s important to consult with an Orange County spinal cord attorney. Contact Bentley & More, LLP today to discuss your case.