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Symptoms And Effects Of Spinal Cord Injury

The location of the trauma along the spine will determine where the symptoms occur. If the spine is injured in the neck area, it can result in quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, which is paralysis of both arms and both legs. If the spinal cord injury occurs lower in the back, it can result in paraplegia, which is paralysis of both legs. There is also hemiplegia, which is paralysis affecting only one side of the body, and paraparesis, which is partial paralysis of the lower limbs.

Spinal cord injuries are generally referred to as either “complete” or “incomplete.” A “complete spinal cord injury” is when there is a complete loss of muscle function and sensation in the area of the body below the point in the spine where the injury occurred. When an “incomplete spinal cord injury” occurs, some muscle function remains below the point of the injury.

There is a high risk of secondary medical problems or complications associated with spinal cord injuries. Physical complications arising after a spinal cord injury can include blood clots, blocked arteries, lung infections or pneumonia, breathing difficulties, muscle spasms, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, kidney infections, bowel incontinence, chronic pain and pressure sores.

In addition to these physical complications, the psychological and emotional impacts of a severe spinal cord injury are significant. Depression, anxiety, frustration and often the lack of a will to live are, unfortunately, very common secondary problems associated with spinal cord injuries. These injuries are as real and devastating to the victim and his or her family as any physical ailment. High-quality attendant medical care and mental health care services will often be necessary for the life of the patient and should be considered in any post-accident lawsuit.

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