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Personal Injury Law Blog | Spine Law | Spine Injury Lawyers

Fundamentals of Spinal Cord Injury

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Ehline Law Firm face questions from brain injury survivors often. Many were victims of severe car accidents and slips and falls. Many have back injury claims. Us tort attorneys have to know medicine and the law. So here we answer victim’s questions from our perspective as spine injury lawyers.

Spinal cord injuries remain critical ailments with ongoing health implications. Most of all, they change a person’s lifestyle overnight. Many functions depend on the spinal cord. When a back injury occurs, you are at risk for short-term and long-term complications.

The victim and their family will find it necessary to learn how to manage spine injuries. And this stays part of the ongoing recovery process. It also helps victims understand the art of living with a permanent ailment.

Below are some common complications with spine injuries:

  • Spasms: Spasticity describes increased spasms. It consists of uncontrolled reflexes of limb movement. Spine injury victims often suffer this issue. This suffering happens due to nerves in the spinal cord getting triggered or damaged. So now the brain and nerves no longer communicate the same way. Basically, the spine injury victim no longer controls bodily movements. Medical treatments exist to help reduce spasticity. Although in some cases, the spasms might be beneficial. Spasms help improve muscle tone in the affected area. That will allow the patient to have some stability of the limb. The goal of improving mobility remains possible with this extra stimuli.
  • Urinary: Urinary tract infection or kidney infection and bowel problems can also happen. In that case, the nerves controlling these functions become damaged. Spinal cord impact or twisting remains a primary culprit. In some cases, the brain and body are no longer able to coordinate. So now the bladder and bowel fail to eliminate waste in a controlled manner. In some situations, medications or catheters may be used to treat the problem. In other cases drinking plenty of water and having more fiber in the diet help the patient’s condition.
  • Weight Gain or Loss: Weight gain or loss may occur after a spinal cord injury. Damage can affect the person’s ability to exercise and their diet. But healthy eating habits and exercise may remain possible. This improvement happens with help from nutrition experts and physical therapists.
  • Depression: This sadness remains a common occurrence in patients who suffered a spinal cord injury. While people recover, some experience some depression. Other symptoms may also be present like anxiety, grief, and stress. So the patient needs to have the support of family. Having friends and care providers could make a huge difference. Victims need to overcome the depressive state of an unfortunate injury. Sometimes great benefits come from hiring therapists. They may help the patient through this difficult period.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: People who have suffered a spinal cord injury often suffer from sexual dysfunction and fertility issues. A plethora of items can still arise, however. Also, this problem affects men more than women. Doctors may prescribe medication and other treatments to increase fertility. Spinal cord injuries rarely affect fertility in women. But pregnancy remains viewed high risk. And it should only be considered with the assistance of a qualified healthcare expert.
  • Bed Sores: Also, spinal cord injury patients may face bed sores. These happen since patients may be sitting or lying in the same position for extended amounts of time. These get caused by pressure on the skin by the bones that restrict blood flow. This pressure creates a deterioration of the tissue. The result will be a pressure sore. Hence, they get referred to as bed sores. They only affect people unable to be mobile most or all of the time. To maintain healthy skin, patients should frequently get moved around. Other tips include keeping the person clean. And they need to be eating a balanced diet. The patient or the caregiver should inspect the skin often for any red areas. Cuts or sores remain particular culprits. If bones protrude, they rub more. These locations include the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. So any marks, cuts or sores should be treated right away. You must ensure they remain disaffected.
  • Neurogenic Pain: This pain originates in the nervous tissue. Further, this causes sensations of burning and stinging. It remains a common occurrence. In some cases, the limbs no longer have feeling or movement. There can also be a pain in the other parts of the body. In this way, the body compensates for the numb limbs. Arms used strenuously for wheelchair movement can become numb, for example. Several forms of treatment get used for this symptom.
    • The battery of therapy includes oral medications. It can also include IM and Sub-Q injections.
    • It may include transfusions and stem cell therapy.
    • It could also involve using spinal or brain electrical stimulation.
    • Homeopathic medicine like acupuncture acupressure may help as an adjunct.
    • If all else fails, surgery remains available.
  • Heart Rate: One of the significant concerns with this type of health issue remains heart rate. Because of this, it can slow down a lot. On the other hand, it might rise to an extreme rate after the injury. Also, this might result in heart problems. So these may require medication. Of special interest, this would include treatments like low blood pressure intravenous blood infusions.
  • Blood Clots: Blood clots are one of the major concerns with spinal cord damage. And not being able to get around reduces blood flow through the veins. Healthcare providers often prescribe blood clotting medications for patients with these types of spinal cord injuries.
  • Automatic Dysreflexia: This condition occurs due to stimulus. These include skin irritations or a blocked catheter. This provocation results in a message that gets triggered below the injury. This signal then gets sent to the brain. The brain cannot receive the message. And this causes a reflex constricting the blood vessels. Then the heart rate slows and raises blood pressure. So this increases the risk of stroke and in rare cases seizure. In some cases, this condition can be decreased by changing the position of the patient.
  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia and asthma are complications. These can affect some spinal cord patients. Also, the muscles associated with breathing become weakened. In some cases, it may be necessary for the person to have breathing assistance. Also, the nerves to the diaphragm could be damaged. Flu shots could be prescribed in these cases. Medications may also regulate breathing related issues.

As you can see, many ways exist for a spinal cord injury to affect human life. The nerves leading to and from the brain run across the spine. These types of injuries will require lifetime care if they are serious.

So you must get your questions answered in detail by a spinal cord lawyer specialist. How do you know whether you should settle a negligence claim? The answer is you cannot be sure without legal help. You must retain counsel. You may have to sue.


Approach to the Patient and Diagnostic Evaluation Harman Singh, MD Jim Harrop, MD:

Prevention of Spinal Disc Injuries – PDR Diagnostics:

Evaluation and Management of Acute Cervical Spine Trauma – Laura Pimentel, MDa,b,*, Laura Diegelmann, MDa,c:


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