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Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

Posted on August 5, 2021 in

spinal cord injury symptoms

Spinal cord damage can occur at any time, in multiple types of accidents, including motor vehicle collisions, construction accidents, and falls on someone else’s property. These severe injuries can result in serious, sometimes permanent complications and can be life-threatening without prompt treatment. In these situations, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury so you can seek help and receive the treatment you need. 

Emergency Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury is not always obvious immediately after an accident. Some symptoms you may experience include the following.

  • Difficulty with balance or walking
  • Extreme pain or pressure in your back, head, or neck
  • Impaired breathing
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness and difficulty with coordination
  • Paralysis in any part of your body
  • Loss of sensation in your extremities

After the accident, you may feel disoriented, numb, or confused. You may not feel pain due to shock or nerve damage, and you may wonder if you need to go to the doctor. However, it is vital to seek emergency medical attention as soon as you possibly can. 

Do not wait to seek help. The time between injury and treatment can be critical for determining your possibility for recovery. Additionally, bleeding or swelling around the spinal cord can lead to dangerous and potentially fatal complications. If you sustain any type of damage to your head, back, or neck, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Common Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

After you receive treatment for your spinal cord injury, the extent of the damage will become clearer. Your medical team will begin to diagnose your condition by identifying the location and the severity of your injury.

Medical professionals classify this damage into two categories: complete and incomplete. With a complete spinal cord injury, you lose all sensory and motor function below the injury site. On the other hand, you retain some feeling and movement with incomplete injuries. 

Depending on the location and severity of the damage, you may become paralyzed below the injury site. You may experience paraplegia, or paralysis of the legs, chest, and pelvis, or tetraplegia, which affects the arms, hands, legs, chest, and pelvis.

Additional symptoms of spinal cord injuries may include the following.

  • Loss of movement and sensation
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Difficulty coughing or clearing your airways
  • Pain or stinging due to the injured spinal cord nerves
  • Spasms and uncontrollable reflexes
  • Difficulties with sexual function and fertility

What to Do After a Spinal Cord Injury

If you developed a spinal cord injury in an accident, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. The financial, emotional, and physical impact can be difficult to handle, and very few people can afford to pay for spinal cord treatment out of pocket. If someone else’s actions were responsible for your injury, however, you may have options for legal action.

Through an Oregon insurance claim or lawsuit, you can hold the at-fault party in your accident accountable for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. However, you will need to prove that his or her actions directly caused your accident and resulting injuries. In these situations, an Oregon personal injury lawyer can support your claim.

A Portland spinal cord injury attorney will have experience assisting injured victims and can help you seek justice. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your next steps.