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Austin Personal Injury Blog

Friday, April 20, 2018

Top 5 Causes of Spinal Cord Injury or Paralysis

A spinal cord injury (SCI) can change a person’s life forever. Trauma to the cord can cause a variety of SCI injuries including bruising, damage to the nerves, dislocated vertebrae, fractures, and paralysis. The consequences of an SCI can result in substantial financial and personal losses.

Because most injuries to the spine are the result of trauma from an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact our Texas spinal cord or paralysis lawyers to discuss your legal options for filing a personal injury claim.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injury or Paralysis

An individual may suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI) in one of several ways. Some of the injuries are caused by an unintentional accident or injury while other causes may be the result of intentional wrongdoing or negligence.

Top Three Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries — Auto Accidents, Falls, and Gunshots
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the top three causes of injuries to the spinal cord are auto accidents, falls, and gunshots. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries for individuals under the age of 65. However, falls are the leading cause of SCI in adults 65 years of age and older.

Sports/Recreational Injuries and Medical Malpractice

Roughly 80 percent of the sports and recreational spinal cord injuries reported involve a male. Sports and recreational injuries to the spinal cord are common in activities that involve physical contact or the risk of falls. Examples of activities that may result in an SCI include skiing/snowboarding, horseback riding, rock climbing/hiking, and contact sports.

For females, the fourth most common cause of SCI is medical and surgical complications. If the injury was the result of negligence or a mistake, the victim might have a medical malpractice claim against one or more medical providers.

How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Cause Paralysis?

The spinal column protects the bundle of nerves that run from your brain to each area of your body. The nerves carry messages from the brain to other parts of the body, making it possible to move and feel sensations. When the spinal cord is injured, the nerves can also be damaged thereby cutting off the connection between the brain and an area of the body.

With an incomplete spinal cord injury, the nerves are not completely severed, but they are damaged. The damage results in a loss of movement and sensation in the part of the body controlled by the nerves. A complete spinal cord injury results in paralysis, a total loss of movement and sensation.

Tetraplegia or quadriplegia affects the pelvic organs, arms, hands, legs, and trunk. Paraplegia affects all or part of the trunk, pelvic organs, and legs. The location of the spinal cord injury dictates the level of paralysis. The higher up on the spinal column the injury occurs, the greater chance you may suffer paralysis to a larger portion of your body.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

You should never ignore symptoms. Pain and other symptoms are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. In some cases, a spinal cord injury may not be immediately known. For instance, a car accident may result in dislocated vertebrae or soft tissue damage to the spinal cord tissue. The victim may not notice symptoms for a few days or weeks, but pain and stiffness develop and continue. Ignoring the symptoms could cause the injury to become worse.

Symptoms of paralysis and spinal cord injuries include:

  • Pain, including intense stinging, sharp pains, or dull aches

  • Loss of movement or sensation

  • Spasms or exaggerated reflexes

  • Altered sensation or loss of sensation, such as the inability to feel cold and heat

  • Difficulty or impaired breathing

  • Problems or loss of bladder or bowel control

  • Loss of range of motion or pain when turning and twisting the back

  • Loss of movement in the extremities

  • Lack of coordination or balance

If you experience any of these symptoms or other symptoms, you should see a doctor. It is always prudent to seek medical care after any type of accident. Failing to seek treatment after an accident could harm your health, but it could also jeopardize a personal injury claim if another party caused your injury.

Do You Have Questions About Spinal Cord Injuries and Personal Injury Claims?

Contact our Texas spinal cord injury attorneys at The Tony Nguyen Law Firm today for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation from the negligent person who caused your spinal cord injury or paralysis.


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