Spinal cord injuries are types of injuries that are seen relatively often after serious auto collisions. Due to the forces involved in car and truck crashes, it’s possible that those inside a vehicle could damage their spinal columns and spinal cords. Unfortunately, those injuries can lead to lifelong complications.
Spinal cord injuries are among the worst injuries because they are usually permanent. While some minor recovery may occur once swelling is reduced and any repairs have been made, damage to any part of the spinal cord or the cauda equina (the end of the spinal canal) could lead to chronic pain, paralysis or other issues.
The symptoms of spinal cord injuries may be life-changing
Sadly, the symptoms related to spinal cord injuries have the potential to change a person’s life for good. A complete injury, one in which the spinal cord has been severed or completely damaged, there is no feeling or sensation below the point of the injury. There is no ability to move the areas below the point, either.
With incomplete injuries, people sometimes retain some feeling and sensory function. Unfortunately, it is also possible for chronic pain to be a side effect of this kind of injury.
While many people know that paralysis is a possibility, they may not consider the additional signs and symptoms of spinal cord injuries such as:
- Exaggerated reflexes and spasms
- Pain and intense burning or stinging from nerve damage
- Trouble breathing
- The loss of bowel control
- The loss of sensation
- An altered sense of touch, heat or cold
- A loss of movement or trouble with movement
- Changes in sexual function, fertility and sensitivity
All of these and other symptoms could occur, leaving the person with the injury dealing with more than just the initial injury itself.
Serious spinal cord injuries must be treated as quickly as possible, so if you or someone you are with is experiencing numbness, paralysis, weakness, impaired breathing or extreme back pain or pressure, call 911 for help immediately. Early treatment may help preserve some of the nerve function, so it’s always a good idea to seek care sooner rather than later.