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A spinal cord injury could worsen if not treated right away

A spinal cord injury involves damage to the spinal cord itself or damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks in the spinal column. This life-altering injury can be caused by a car crash, a fall, an athletic accident, a gunshot wound, or another trauma to the head, neck or back.

Spinal cord injuries can become more severe if they are not diagnosed and treated right away. Movement can also make spinal cord injuries more severe. To make matters worse, the signs of a spinal cord injury do not always appear right away. Sometimes the signs only appear later as swelling or bleeding occurs. For this reason, if you experience a trauma to your head, neck or back, it may be safest to seek emergency medical help right away.

Do not ignore signs of a potential spinal cord injury

If you experience a trauma, it is important to stay calm. Some signs you may exhibit if you have a spinal cord injury, include:

  • Loss of movement
  • Pressure in your head, neck or back
  • Extreme back pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Altered sensation
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Spasms
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Difficulty with balance
  • An oddly twisted neck or back

What treatments are available?

If you are diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, emergency treatments will probably focus on keeping you still, making sure you can breathe and preventing you from going into shock. Surgery and medications may also be part of your treatment plan.

After swelling has gone down, you may also work with a variety of specialists for rehabilitation. Some specialists you may work with include a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a rehabilitation psychologist, a social worker, a recreation therapist and others.

Although there is no way to reverse spinal cord damage, some recovery may begin in the weeks or months following the initial injury. There are also many technologies that can help you maintain independence. Some of those technologies include modern wheelchairs, computer adaptations, electrical stimulation devices, robotic gait training and electronic aids to daily living.

If you have a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s reckless actions, it may be appropriate to seek justice. You may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.

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