Man with woman physical therapy doctor helping him walk.

Car Accidents: The Leading Cause of Spinal Cord Injuries

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

According to a 2021 report from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), vehicle crashes have consistently been the leading cause of spinal cord injuries since 2015 at 38%. This is undoubtedly an alarming statistic, and someone who has suffered a spinal cord injury often faces many long-term challenges. Here's what you need to know.

The Prognosis of a Spinal Cord Injury

Sadly, spinal cord injuries are not reversible. However, some treatments and therapies can be utilized to mitigate the risk of secondary conditions related to a spinal cord injury and paralysis.

  • Complete: When all feeling and ability to control movement is lost below the spinal cord injury area.
  • Incomplete: When some feeling and control of movement is lost below the spinal cord injury area.

Paralysis involving a spinal cord injury may be referred to as:

  • Quadriplegia - Also known as tetraplegia, this type of paralysis affects the arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.
  • Paraplegia - this type of paralysis affects all or part of the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.

Secondary Conditions Related to Spinal Cord Injuries

In addition to the spinal cord injury itself, it's not uncommon to have the following secondary conditions:

  • Autonomic dysreflexia - A life-threatening condition that affects people with a spinal cord injury that can cause a stroke. It's critical for those with spinal cord injuries to monitor their blood pressure to keep it at healthy levels.
  • Lack of bladder or bowel control - Many people with paralysis have disruption of their bladder and bowel systems.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - People with a spinal cord injury are at a higher risk of developing DVT, caused by blood clots that can break loose from the leg vein and travel to the lung.
  • Chronic pain - Although people with paralysis may not have feeling sensories, they may experience what is called neuropathic pain, which can be chronic and unbearable.
  • Respiratory issues - Several aspects of breathing issues can accompany a severe spinal cord injury, and some people may need breathing assistance devices.
  • Sepsis - This type of blood poisoning is a life-threatening condition and happens when the body's response to infection is an attack on its own tissues and organs.
  • Pressure sores - Spinal cord injuries can cause changes in the skin, blood flow, muscle composition, and decreased sensations, leaving someone more prone to pressure sores.
  • Spasticity - Spinal cord injuries can affect the muscles, so it's not uncommon for someone to have spastic movements and muscle tightness.

Types of Treatments and Therapies for Spinal Cord Injuries

Someone with a spinal cord injury may need to undergo various recovery treatments and therapies and may need to work with the following professionals throughout the recovery process:

  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Rehabilitation nurse
  • Rehabilitation psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Dietician
  • Recreation therapist
  • Various medical professionals

Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury? Contact Del Rio & Caraway, P.C.

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be devastating enough. When a catastrophic injury like a spinal cord injury results, the long-term consequences can be devastating. If someone else's negligence caused your injury, you shouldn't have to worry about paying for medical and rehabilitation treatment when you're trying to focus on recovery. You deserve to have peace of mind knowing there's someone in your corner fighting for your rights. Know that you are not alone, and Del Rio & Caraway, P.C. is here to support you every step of the way.

Don't fight the insurance companies alone after sustaining an injury from an accident. Contact Del Rio & Caraway, P.C. today at (916) 229-6755 or send us a message to discuss your case.