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The potential long-term medical impacts of spinal cord injuries

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Catastrophic Injuries |

Spinal cord injuries are perhaps the most feared injuries commonly associated with crashes. Many people catastrophize the idea of losing motor function and sensation after an injury to their spinal cords. They might think of the time when they would need to initially adapt to those injuries as the most difficult time after a crash.

However, a spinal cord injury doesn’t just become manageable because someone has adjusted to their new daily life. In many cases, it will continue to create new challenges and expenses that people will have to overcome as the years pass after an initial injury. People have to understand the permanent medical consequences of a spinal cord injury to seek appropriate care and appropriately valued legal recourse.

Most people will not recover from their injuries

Sometimes, individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury will find that their symptoms improve over time with medical intervention. They may regain more motor function and notice less sensation impairment as their bodies heal. For those with complete injuries and many with incomplete injuries, there will be lasting physical consequences.

The paralysis of a complete injury will persist for life, as will the loss of sensation. The body will also react to the injury, sometimes by causing pain sensations. People may experience a loss of control of their bowels or bladders. Those with incomplete injuries might experience muscle spasms, while anyone with a spinal cord injury could experience sexual dysfunction.

Spinal cord injuries higher on the spine increase someone’s risk of significant heart or lung problems. The body may also have more difficulty regulating internal temperature or even blood pressure because of the injury. People often need to use assistive technology to overcome physical limitations.

They may require pain management and also physical therapy. Ongoing therapy can help control certain symptoms and improve someone’s functional abilities. It can also help stave off issues with blood pressure and a loss of muscle tone. Those medical challenges often translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses or more. Many people will also experience changes in their earning potential. Their transportation and housing expenses may increase as well.

Ultimately, having a realistic idea of the long-term consequences of a spinal cord injury may help people pursue compensation that is appropriate given their losses. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to achieve that kind of clarity.