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What to know about spinal cord injuries

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Statistics report that vehicle accidents cause around 40% of spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is delicate and has the important function of transmitting information throughout the central nervous system. Damage to the spinal cord can cause serious injury for drivers in Lutz, Florida.

Overview of spinal cord injury

Motor vehicle accidents account for around 39% of spinal cord injuries, making them the leading cause of this type of injury. The spinal cord acts as a messaging pathway between the brain and the rest of the body and is protected by the spinal column. A back injury differs from a spinal column injury because it damages the spine’s soft tissues and bones.

The spinal cord resembles a tube and runs from the brain stem to along the bottom of the spine. Nerves called tracts carry the messages to body parts, which divide into sensory and motor tracts. Sensory tracts are responsible for controlling heat, cold, and pain and motor tracts regulate muscle movement.

Symptoms and complications

Symptoms and complications depend on the injury and completeness, which is based on the feeling left after injury. A complete injury means all the feeling has gone from below the injury site, commonly causing paralysis.

An incomplete injury does not completely damage the injury site, leaving more movement in some limbs. Some common general signs of spinal cord injury include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness in arms or legs
  • Hand, feet, toes, or finger numbness
  • Unable to feel pain, cold, or heat
  • Decreased control of bowels or bladder
  • Severe neck or back pressure
  • Lumps in the spine

A spinal cord injury increases the risk of osteoporosis from loss of bone density and affects muscle tone. Some other complications include pneumonia, bloodstream infections, sexual changes, muscle spasticity, pressure ulcers, depression, and deep vein thrombosis.

While serious spinal cord injury is rare, the effects can last a long time. Injured drivers can seek damages from at-fault parties, but they have limited time to file a case.