Let’s Talk Paraplegia and Spinal Cord Injury
Suffering from a spinal cord injury or paraplegia is, unfortunately, something that many people face in their lifetime. In fact, both males and females of any age could suffer these conditions due to any type of personal injury such as a workplace accident or a car accident. This is an injury that is going to greatly affect their everyday life…in fact, it may change it drastically.
What are Paraplegia and Spinal Cord Injuries?
When talking about spinal cord injuries, it is important to define that spinal cord injuries encompass any type of injury to the spine. On the other hand, paraplegia is the actual name of the damage that occurs to the spinal cord.
There can be numerous locations of spinal cord injuries ranging from the top of the spine near the neck to the bottom that is located at the pelvic area. Depending upon the location in the spinal cord will often result in the injury that is seen.
For those who are paraplegic, they are going to be facing the fact that they are unable to move their torso, legs and pelvic organs at all. They will often be confined to a wheelchair or a bed, depending upon other injuries that they may be suffering.
Do note, that with any type of spinal cord injury you often lose feeling and movement in some part of your body. The severity of this spinal cord injury will be the determinant factor in how much feeling you lose and what parts of your body you can no longer move.
What Causes Paraplegia?
There are several causes of paraplegia in humans. The most common reason that a person becomes a paraplegic is due to an accident. In fact, it is estimated that more than three-quarters of those people who have this issue is due to being involved in some type of accident. Other causes of paraplegia include:
– Injuries from working such as falls, electrocution or even blast injuries
– Spinal infections that resulted in toxins damaging the nerves
– Inflammation of the membranes that surround the spinal nerves
– Surgical accidents
– Having a degenerative bone disease
– Tumors that are primary or secondary growths of the spine
– Anesthetic accidents that led to spinal cord hypoxia
Since injuries are the most common reason for this issue to arise, here is a bit more information about what types of injuries are causing these type of devastating health issues:
- Hyperflexion accidents which are blows to the back of the head or even forceful decelerations.
- A hyperflexion-rotation which is caused by disruption to the posterior spinous ligament
- Vertical compression is otherwise known as axial loading, which is when the vertebral body is compressed which can even result in a decrease of height
- Hyperextension is a blow to the front of the head or whiplash. Note that this is the most common type of accident!
- Extension-rotation results when the anterior and the posterior spinal columns are disrupted, which is often seen in auto accidents.
- Lateral flexion which is seen with flexion or extension injuries.
Also, keep in mind that cerebral injuries which include skull fracture or subdural hematomas can result in a spinal cord injury that leads a person to be paraplegic.
What are Paraplegia Symptoms?
Paraplegia symptoms are going to depend based on where in the spine the injury has occurred, along with the extent of the injury. The symptoms most often include:
– The person has no control of the muscles in the legs, feet, toes and their trunk.
– There is a loss of sensation in the legs, feet, toes or trunk
– There is a tingling that can be felt in the feet, toes, legs or trunk
– The person often has bladder or bowel incontinence since they have no muscle control in the trunk
– Sexual dysfunction as they have no feeling or control of muscles in the trunk and below
The severity of the symptoms above are all going to be related to what location in the spine has been damaged.
What is Paraplegia Management?
For those who suffer a spinal cord injury that results in paraplegia, managing these symptoms and helping the person to have a fulfilling life is the goal of most medical professionals. There are several things that are being done to help a paraplegic have as normal of a life as possible. These methods include:
– Surgery to help with spinal cord alignment that can help to improve the feeling and range of movement
– Secondary surgeries are often performed to address the muscle injuries that are related to this spinal injury
– Medications are given in an effort to reduce the risk of blood clots and other secondary issues that go with having this issue.
– Physical therapy is a must that is meant to help a person to regain as much muscle function as possible. This therapy is meant to help the brain and spinal cord to work around the injury together. Those who have taken this therapy have shown signs of this slowing down the loss of muscle tone.
– Exercise therapy is meant to help reduce the chronic pain that is found with this injury along with keeping the person in good physical shape.
– Psychotherapy is given to help a person to manage these injuries and the changes that they are experiencing in their life.
– Occupational therapy is meant to help a person to learn new skills that are going to work around their injuries so that they can still have a productive life even after this injury.
– Education about the injuries is often given to patients so that they fully understand what they are going up against and how this is going to change their life.
The management of paraplegia is different for each patient. The medical professional has to determine what is going to work best for the extent of the injury and other injuries that the person may be suffering also factors into the management process.
How This Affects Your Life
Imagine being involved in an accident that was no fault of your own and then finding out while in the hospital that you will never have full function of your legs, torso or feet again. It can be a devastating blow.
Your entire life has been changed in the course of the few minutes that the accident happened. This type of injury results in having to learn some of the most basic skills again and also dealing with the fact that you will now be confined to a wheelchair until you hopefully get some movement back into your legs.
However, even with some movement, those days of simply walking out to the mailbox are gone. In these cases, you need justice for your incident, and that is what we can offer you!
Here at Conte & Jaswal, we are ready to help you fight back. We have represented many people who have suffered spinal cord injuries and recovered monetary damages for the pain and suffering they are dealing with, along with the loss of their livelihood. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to see how we can help you!
Contact us today for a FREE Consultation.