How Spinal Cord Injuries Occur
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur when the column of nerves running from the brain through to the spinal column is damaged, resulting in permanent and often devastating consequences. This type of injury can have lifelong implications for those affected, both physically and emotionally. Here’s what you should know.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
Spinal cord injuries are a serious health concern in the U.S. According to Mayo Clinic, auto and motorcycle accidents alone account for nearly half of newly-reported cases each year. Falls, especially among those over 65, make up another sizable portion of SCIs. Acts of violence, including gunshot and knife wounds, are unfortunately responsible for an alarming 12% of such incidents. Sports and recreation injuries account for roughly 10% of SCIs each year. Vulnerability to a spinal cord injury can be exacerbated by pre-existing conditions such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammation – all of which can place individuals at even greater risk of devastating long-term damage from spinal cord injuries. All of us develop age-related degeneration of our spine, but most of us have no symptoms at all. When trauma is superimposed on the asymptomatic degenerative spine, it often makes that otherwise pain-free condition symptomatic. Thus, the need for medical care.
Secondary Conditions Associated With Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), it is estimated that more than 290 thousand people in the U.S. are living with a spinal cord injury. In addition to a spinal cord injury, there are related secondary conditions, such as impaired mobility and changes to the respiratory system, causing problems such as shortness of breath and reduced lung capacity. Other complications can arise throughout their lifetime as well and may include:
- Autonomic dysreflexia – an overreaction of the involuntary nervous system
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
- Chronic pain
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
The emotional impact of a spinal cord injury is profound. Depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues are not uncommon, and many people find it difficult to adjust to a life drastically different from what they once had. Adjusting to a new lifestyle after an SCI can involve learning new coping mechanisms to deal with physical limitations and finding ways to remain positive despite significant losses. For example, many individuals must find creative solutions for everyday activities, such as dressing themselves or doing household chores without assistance from another person.
Contact Our Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers in San Jose
Spinal cord injuries can also cause financial implications that can be hard to manage long term. The medical costs are high, in addition to lost wages or job opportunities. Our team at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP understands that living with a spinal cord injury is even more devastating and frustrating when dealing with uncooperative insurance agencies. We are passionate about helping the injured seek justice and secure the compensation they deserve. Having an experienced spinal cord injury attorney in your corner can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.