What most people understand about spinal cord injuries largely stems from seeing movies and television shows where people experience an immediate and total loss of sensation and motor control after sustaining harm. That is often what happens when a traumatic injury causes a complete spinal cord injury.
Car crashes are a leading cause of spinal cord injury, with collisions causing roughly 38% of the reported spinal cord injuries incurred by the public each year. Individuals may not be able to exit their vehicles after a crash because of the loss of function and require emergency transportation to a nearby medical facility to undergo treatment as soon as possible.
However, it is also possible for people to experience a spinal cord injury and still retain both their feeling of pain and their ability to use their body below the injury site. Medical professionals refer to these as incomplete spinal cord injuries. Ruling out the possibility of an incomplete spinal cord injury is one reason why people may need to be assessed thoroughly by a medical professional after a collision that causes severe damage to their vehicles and leaves them unsure of their physical condition.
Incomplete injuries sometimes get worse
People can hurt their spinal cord without experiencing the stereotypical total loss of feeling and function. Someone may have pitched or torn the spinal cord without actually severing it. Incomplete spinal cord injuries come with a host of medical challenges and require medical intervention to prevent them from worsening.
Abrupt motions, including slamming on the brakes when driving in the future or exercising, might spontaneously worsen the spinal cord injury. People can suddenly lose function and sensation after previously retaining it. Additionally, incomplete spinal cord injuries can cause a host of other challenges.
Those with incomplete injuries sometimes experience impairment of motor function even though they do not lose motor function. They may require surgery and physical therapy to avoid worsening the injury and to regain or retain as much function as possible. People may not realize until several days after a car crash that an incomplete injury occurred unless they see a professional who carefully evaluates them for warning signs.
Seeking proper medical care can improve someone’s prognosis. Those who undergo a medical evaluation performed shortly after an initial injury will also significantly increase their chances of obtaining appropriate compensation for their injuries after a car crash. Recognizing that there are a variety of different spinal cord injuries can help people get both the medical and legal the support they may need after a wreck.