Spinal injuries can be absolutely devastating. Depending on the area that is injured and how serious the injuries are, a spinal injury could leave someone with chronic pain, constant dysfunction or complete immobility.
Spinal injuries are considered to be catastrophic when they occur. They are usually acute, meaning severe. If you have suffered a spinal injury to the neck, then you will need immediate emergency care. If you suffer one in a car crash, it’s important to hold the driver accountable. This kind of injury can be extremely expensive.
What causes acute spinal injuries?
What are some symptoms of an acute spinal injury?
When the accident happens, symptoms will begin to appear immediately. Some of the common injuries that are a sign of a spinal injury include:
- Breathing problems
- Trouble feeling anything in the chest, legs or arms
- A loss of bowel or bladder control
- Weakness below the point of the injury
How is an acute spinal cord injury diagnosed?
The injury will be diagnosed based on a physical exam as well as diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests give the best information to medical providers, so that they know if they need to operate or start medications for the patient.
Some of the diagnostic tests that may be used include:
- Blood tests
- Computerized tomography scans (CT scans)
- Magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs)
Each of these techniques can give a better look at the nerves, spinal cord, bones and other aspects of the body that may be affected by the injury.
Is there any treatment for a spinal cord injury?
While there is no cure for paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury, there are some good techniques that are used to minimize damage and to prevent secondary complications. Some specific treatments that could be used are:
- Mechanical ventilators, which will help you breathe
- A bladder catheter, which can help drain urine
- Medications to decrease swelling, such as corticosteroid
- The insertion of a feeding tube, which can directly deliver food, vitamins and substances to the stomach
You should be aware that a spinal cord injury could require long-term hospitalization due to the severity of the injuries you’ve suffered. You may need to work with many different kinds of specialists to determine how to care for yourself and to learn how to do certain tasks now that you’re living with a disability.