Car accidents are traumatic events that can lead to various injuries, one of the most serious being those involving the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can have life-altering consequences, affecting a person’s mobility and overall quality of life.
Consider the different types of spinal cord injuries that can occur post-accident to ensure appropriate medical attention.
Types of spinal cord injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord can manifest in several ways, depending on the location and severity of the damage. Damage to the cervical spinal cord, located in the neck, can result in quadriplegia or tetraplegia, which is paralysis of all four limbs. Damage to the thoracic or lumbar spinal cord, in the middle and lower back, can result in paraplegia, which is paralysis of the lower limbs.
Complete and incomplete injuries
Spinal cord injuries fall into two main categories: complete and incomplete. A complete injury involves total loss of function below the level of the injury. For instance, a person with a complete injury in the lower back will lose all motor and sensory functions in the lower body. On the other hand, an incomplete injury means that some function remains below the level of the injury. The extent of function depends on the degree of damage to the spinal cord.
In addition to immediate paralysis, spinal cord injuries can lead to secondary conditions that manifest over time. These can include chronic pain, bladder and bowel dysfunction, respiratory issues and susceptibility to infections. Furthermore, victims of these injuries often experience psychological impacts, such as depression and anxiety, due to the drastic changes in their lifestyle.
Spinal cord injuries from car accidents can lead to severe and long-term physical challenges. Therefore, immediate medical evaluation and a long-term care plan become crucial after a car accident if there is any suspicion of a spinal cord injury.