What Are the Long-Term Complications of a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury can be debilitating. Anyone’s spinal cord could be injured in an accident, such as a car crash or fall from heights. Extensive damage to the vertebra, nerves, or tissue can cause mobility issues. Although it’s possible to fully heal after injuring the spinal cord, long-term complications arise for some accident victims.
A vertebral infection can develop after spinal cord damage. The most common infection is vertebral osteomyelitis. Symptoms often include:
- Severe back pain
- Muscle spasms
- Weight loss
- Neurological deficits, such as weakness in an arm or leg
- Difficulty urinating or painful urination
Muscle spasticity commonly affects people with spinal cord injuries. It results from damage to the motor system and can prevent the sensory nerves from transmitting signals to the brain from the muscles.
Spasticity causes one or multiple muscles to contract involuntarily and leads to symptoms such as:
- Increased muscle tone
- Recurrent spasms
- Involuntary movements
- Overactive reflexes
Bones are more susceptible to fractures when osteoporosis develops. The condition causes the bones to get thinner and weaken. Anyone with a spinal cord injury can develop osteoporosis eventually.
However, symptoms aren’t always noticeable. The symptoms some people notice could also be indicative of other medical problems. That makes diagnosing osteoporosis challenging.
You should attend routine exams and inform your doctor of your previous spinal cord injury to determine whether the symptoms you experience are due to osteoporosis. You can manage pain and reduce the risk of bone fractures with proper treatment.
Syringomyelia is a medical condition that occurs when a cyst filled with cerebrospinal fluid forms within the spinal cord. It can cause neurological issues and numerous symptoms depending on its location and size, such as:
- Loss of sensitivity to temperature or pain, particularly in the hands
- Numbness or tingling in the legs or arms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Balance issues and difficulty walking
- Weakness in the legs or arms and progressive atrophy of the muscles
- Pain down the arms, neck, and mid back or legs
Paralysis can result from significant damage to the spinal cord. It occurs when something interferes with the nerves that transmit signals to the muscles. An accident victim can lose their ability to move body parts below the injury site.
The extent of the spinal cord injury determines the type of paralysis. Five primary types include:
- Paraplegia – Paraplegia affects movement and sensation in both legs. It can also limit functioning in the torso.
- Monoplegia – Monoplegia only affects one limb on one side of the body, such as an arm or leg.
- Diplegia – Diplegia is paralysis of the same body part on both sides of the body, such as both legs or sides of the face.
- Quadriplegia – Quadriplegia is when there is little to no movement from the neck down. The injury affects all limbs.
- Hemiplegia – Hemiplegia involves only one side of the body, such as limited or loss of movement to an arm and leg on the same side.
Seek Legal Assistance After a Spinal Cord Injury
You must start treating your spinal cord injury after an accident someone else causes. Your next step should be to contact The Mandel Law Firm. Hiring an experienced attorney is essential after a severe injury. You have the right to hold the negligent party liable for their actions.
If someone’s negligence caused your spinal cord injury in NYC, call The Mandel Law Firm at (646) 779-1441 today for a free consultation. Let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve.