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How to recognize a spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries can result from many situations, but one of the most common is a motor vehicle accident. The force of the impact puts immense pressure on your spinal cord and, depending on the angle, can also cause your spine to twist or bend more than it should. While some spinal cord injuries are immediately discernible, others manifest in subtle ways -- especially at first -- which is why it's important to be aware of both the effects and symptoms of these injuries.

Effects of a spinal cord injury

At its most basic, a spinal cord injury interrupts the flow of information from the body's nerves to the spinal cord and the brain. The spinal cord is responsible for protecting the delicate bundles of nerves that go down the spine and branch out to the rest of the body. However, when the spinal cord is injured, those nerves can't work properly. This means that you could lose sensation and mobility in the area controlled by the damaged nerves - most often the limbs and extremities.

Signs and symptoms

When many people think of spinal cord injuries, they think of total or very significant paralysis. However, this is not always the case. Spinal cord injuries do not always manifest in instant symptoms. Some common signs of a spinal cord injury are:

  • Pressure, pain or stiffness in the neck or back
  • The head being held at an odd angle
  • A headache
  • Losing consciousness
  • Balance issues, particularly when walking
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities

If you notice one or more of these symptoms after an accident, it's important to seek medical attention and get a full evaluation for a spinal cord injury. There may not be immediate signs of paralysis, but you want to avoid the possibility that it will develop in the future.

What you can do

It's normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start when you or a loved has suffered a spinal cord injury. It's a serious situation that requires a serious response. However, it's equally important to get as much information as you can to ensure the decisions you make are informed ones. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to contact a personal injury attorney. You'll be able to discuss the particulars of your case and get legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

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Sutton Law Group, P.A
7721 SW 62nd Avenue | Miami, FL 33143
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