What to Consider After a Spinal Cord Injury

A serious spinal cord injury is common after someone falls from a high distance. Still, it is possible to injury yourself even when falling from a short distance. These injuries can lead to many long-term problems and can present an uphill challenge back to a normal standard of health. Beyond the health concerns, such an incident can also have a serious impact on one’s financial situation. There are medical bills to consider, of course, but the real killer here is losing a salary while recuperating. As such, an injury of this magnitude can produce a heavy emotional burden upon both the victim and their family.


Differences in Injuries


Of course, no two injuries are the same. After an accident that impacts your spinal cord, one must consider the severity of the injury and the precise location where the injury took place. According to Mayo Clinic, the severity of such an injury is often referred to its “completeness”.

A complete injury occurs when nearly all feeling and all of one’s motor function below the injury are lost. An incomplete injury refers to any such incident where some of the motor or sensory function is retained. Again, there are varying degrees of incomplete injuries. If any paralysis occurs, there are two types. Tetraplegia is commonly referred to as quadriplegia and includes the arms, legs, hands, trunk, and pelvic organs being immovable. Paraplegia describes a paralysis of the legs, trunk, and pelvic organs.
Common Symptoms


There are many symptoms that occur depending on the individual and the completeness of the injury. One may experience loss of movement, as referenced above. This can also include a loss of sensation such as touch and the ability to detect hot and cold. It is also possible to experience muscle spasms and a change in reflex activities. There may also be sharp pains or stinging caused by nerve damage. It is also possible to experience a loss or change in bladder or bowel control. One’s breathing may also be impaired after such an injury. This can include bouts of intense coughing and the inability to clear mucus from the lungs. Visit Mayo Clinic for more information.


Emergency Symptoms


Aside from the common symptoms listed above, there are also symptoms that are cause for alarm. First, numbness in one’s hands, feet, fingers, or toes is a sign for an immediate visit to the emergency room, including tingling or loss of sensation. If one’s neck or back is fixed in an odd position, this is also a dangerous sign. If one experiences difficulty breathing, loss of bowel control, or extreme pain in the head or neck, they should also seek help. Other emergency symptoms include incoordination, paralysis, and difficulty walking.


What to do in an emergency


It is important not to move the injured person in any way, for fear of extended, worsened, or permanent paralysis. That means the person should be kept as still as possible. Also, one should place towels near the neck on both sides, so the injured person does not move their head. And of course, it is imperitive to call 911 immediately.