What happens when you have a spinal injury?

Accidents at work can have very serious consequences, especially when the spinal cord is damaged. You may experience life-long complications because of your injuries, including chronic pain and impairment. The Mayo Clinic offers the following information on injuries to the spinal cord and their effects.

When it comes to causes, auto accidents are linked to half of all spine injuries occurring each year. Falls also have an impact on the health of the spine, and 15 percent of injuries are caused by falls. Other possible causes include sports injuries, assaults, alcohol consumption, and diseases. Certain people, such as the elderly, also have a greater chance of experiencing this type of injury.

Testing is crucial if you sustain damage to your spine. Testing provides insight into the seriousness of the injuries and the level of treatment required. Possible symptoms that would need to be assessed include loss of mobility, problems with sensation, spasms, trouble breathing, pain, and problems retaining bladder control. In some cases, emergency medical care is required to prevent injuries from getting worse. Emergency medical care is imperative if a person feels numbness in their extremities, has trouble walking or breathing, feels weak, or has abnormal positioning of the neck or back.

Paralysis is one possible outcome of spinal injuries. The extent of the damage usually depends on where the injury occurs and how serious it was. Some people develop quadriplegia, which is the loss of movement in all extremities, including arms and legs. Conversely, paraplegia only involves the lower extremities. Injuries can also be complete or incomplete. Complete injuries are those where all feeling and movement is lost, while people with incomplete injuries may retain some ability.

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