Top Causes and Best Treatments for a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries often lead to major life changes with long-term consequences for those affected by them. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to a loss of movement and sensation below the injury site. This can leave many people wheelchair-bound for life with fewer job opportunities. If your injury was caused by someone else, then consider asking a Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer about your options for compensation.
Top Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries happen when the vertebrae bones making up the spine are fractured or unnaturally bent. Unnatural twisting of the spinal vertebrae can also inflict damage to the spinal cord. Once the spinal cord is damaged, the connection between the brain and body is disrupted.
A 2019 datasheet revealed car accidents as one of the most common spinal cord injury causes since 2015, followed by falls, violence, sports, medical or surgical errors, and other causes. Almost any accident or event that involves an abrupt blow to the spine can cause a spinal cord injury. Car accidents may cause more spinal cord injuries due to their severe and violent nature.
Falls might come in second because only severe falls can cause a spinal cord injury. Minor falls may only result in bruises or soft tissue injuries. A fall from a great height and falls in older populations could be more likely to result in a spinal cord injury. Elderly populations tend to suffer more serious injuries from falls due to things like greater rates of osteoporosis, slower reaction times, and health challenges.
Violent incidents involving spinal cord injuries might be rare compared to the rate of car accidents. Sports injuries are common but similar to falls, only severe sports injuries will cause spinal cord damage. Many sports injuries tied to spinal cord injuries are more likely to involve unnatural twisting or bending of the spine. Falls may also play a role in sports-related spinal cord injuries.
Medical and surgical errors are very common in the United States. However, spinal cord injuries caused by medical errors could be rare when compared to all the other injuries caused by these errors. It takes specific surgical or procedural errors to cause spinal cord damage.
Fortunately, more people tend to suffer incomplete spinal cord injuries than complete spinal cord injuries. There is hope with incomplete spinal cord injuries because these injuries can leave some functions intact. Room is left for healing and recovery of lost functions with an incomplete spinal cord injury. Complete spinal cord injuries often leave people with lifelong paralysis.
Best Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is made up of nerve cells and nerve cells are the one type of cell that does not regenerate. As a result, many people assume there are no spinal cord injury treatments or cures. While it could be true that there is no cure in some cases, some people are able to restore lost functions with various treatments.
First, spinal cord injuries are assessed in terms of severity with imaging tests, medical examinations, and physical tests. These tests will evaluate where movement and sensation deficits start and end. Then the doctor will be able to diagnose the type of spinal cord injury that has occurred.
Once a diagnosis is made, the medical team can start developing a plan for treatment or management. Emergency treatment right after the accident involves immobilization of the back and neck to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. This process may also involve:
- Surgery to remove fractured bones that could inflict more damage
- Spine realignment
- Assistive devices for breathing
- Checking for and managing other injuries
Other problems are managed as they arise like pneumonia, muscle spasms, pressure sores, bladder or bowel dysfunction, pain, and circulatory issues. Something like pain, for example, might be treated with prescription medications, electrical stimulation, and surgeries. Anticoagulant medications are often used to treat circulation problems that could cause blood clots.
For those who could improve, rehabilitation therapy can be used to restore lost functions like movement. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, counselors, and other healthcare professionals work together to help the person regain lost abilities. Muscle strengthening is targeted by physical therapy while fine motor skills are targeted by occupational therapy.
Assistive devices are also implemented as a part of the management aspect of treatment. Which assistive devices are used depends on the symptoms and limitations the person is facing. Electronic wheelchairs are used for those who lost the ability to use their legs. Breathing devices are used for those who cannot breathe on their own.
Computer-assisted technology might give the person the ability to use their eyes, fingers, or breathe to have the devices perform certain functions. This may include communicating with others, moving the wheelchair, and other functions. There are also neural prosthetic devices that can stimulate nerves to perform certain actions.
One of the last forms of treatment targets the person’s psychological well-being. Depression and hopelessness are common with spinal cord injuries and are often managed with counseling and recreational therapy. What recreational therapy does is engage the person in activities they can still do like certain sports.
If your spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of someone else, then you may not have to pay for the damages. Ongoing medical bills and other costs associated with your injury and the accident could be paid for. Start by contacting a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can help you start your case.
An experienced lawyer can help you figure out what your legal options are for compensation. This could save you a lot of time, stress, and money. Your lawyer can help you collect evidence and documents to defend your claim.
Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles
Paying for long-term medical care after a spinal cord injury can be financially draining. Feel free to reach out by contacting the Law Offices of Jennie Levin today at (323) 951-1188 to talk to a California personal injury attorney for a free consultation. Our experienced lawyers are prepared to help you maximize your compensation for lost income, pain and suffering, and medical costs. We are located in Los Angeles, California.