How a Spinal Cord Injury Changes Life


It is never possible in life to plan ahead for an unfortunate event, such as a spinal cord injury. Needless to mention, an injury of such proportion will definitely have a serious impact on the victim’s life. With proper awareness of these changes, it may be helpful for an injured person to transition to his or her new life a little easier.

Current statistical figures suggest that more than 265,000 spinal cord injury survivors are living in America. Every year, around 12,000 people in the U. S. experience spinal cord injuries. In the aftermath of such an injury, everyone wants to know the long term impact of the injury. Unfortunately, this question can’t be answered with certainty, even by the doctors. Spinal cord injuries are known to be extremely unpredictable. Some survivors may be able to walk around spontaneously, even after catastrophic injuries. On the other hand, some others may not be able to move their fingers without undergoing years of physical therapy.

Mentioned below are a few things an injury sufferer must know and clearly understand.

Location of Injury is Important:

The degree of disability resulting from a spinal cord injury depends a great deal on the location of the injury. The most severe injuries are the ones related to the cervical spinal cord, and these injuries inevitably lead to quadriplegia. The injuries tend to become less life-threatening and permanent in nature as we move down the spine. Also, the recovery prospects of an incomplete injury are much more compared to that of a complete injury.

Changed Physical Capabilities:

The most severe consequence of a spinal cord injury is paralysis. However, unfortunately, these injuries do not just affect a person’s mobility. The injury victim may experience several other symptoms, depending on the nature and location of their injury.

  • Difficulty in bowel or bladder control.
  • Difficulty related to fertility, libido, arousal, and other sexual functions.
  • Pain in the injured area and phantom pain radiating in other areas.
  • Altered sensations all over the body.
  • Gastrointestinal issues.
  • Difficulty in breathing properly without assistance
  • Development of sleep apnea
  • Tingling sensations all over the body from time to time.
  • Skin problems, such as bedsores, because of lying in bed for long durations.

Mental Aspects of the Injury:

It can’t be denied that the human mind and body are two closely related entities. This is why things that affect the body also have an impact on our minds. It has been observed that the challenges faced in the aftermath of a spinal cord injury often cause the victim to be anxious and depressed.  It is also possible that some of the medications may alter the way certain neurotransmitters are processed by the brain, making the patients vulnerable to mental issues.

Physical Therapy Does Help:

Spinal cord injury sufferers are sometimes reluctant to undergo physical therapy because of its difficulty level in the initial months. However, these apparently simple movements can work wonders. Though there is no guarantee, but almost every injury sufferer can expect at least some improvement of their physical state with physical therapy.

Things will Change:

No matter how grave your injury may appear now, the injury profile will not be the same ten years down the line. Many of the spinal cord injury victims experience a change for good over a period of time. Though it is not possible to predict the injury trajectories, some sufferers do get surprised by their own recovery journey.

It is obvious that  life after a spinal cord injury can be extremely challenging. In case you are looking to find out the legal aspects of your injury, personal injury law firms such as Frekhtman & Associates can help.

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