Some Facts about Spinal Cord Injuries

Some Facts about Spinal Cord Injuries

Oct 16

In 2005, the estimated new cases of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the U.S. was 11,000. Records from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center show, however, that, in 2015, the number went up to 12,500 new cases and still climbed to 17,000 in 2016. There are about 282,000 children and adults already suffering from spinal cord injury and, every year, more continue to be added to their number.

2016 record show that about 80% of new SCI cases involved males, while the average age at injury is 42 years (in the 1970s, the spinal cord injury average age was 29). Major causes of new SCI cases, on the other hand, included vehicle crashes (this has been the leading cause of the injury since 2010), falls, acts of violence (mainly gunshot wounds), sports/recreation activities, and medical/surgical error.

The spinal cord, which forms the central nervous system with the brain, is a bundle of nerve tissues and support cells; it is also one of the human body’s most delicate and sensitive parts. While the brain acts as the body’s command center, the spinal cord serves as the pathway for all messages from the brain to the different parts of the body and vice versa.

A spinal cord injury can damage the ligaments or spinal column disks, the vertebrae (which is a series of small bones that form the backbone), or the spinal cord itself. A spinal cord injury may be traumatic or non-traumatic. Traumatic SCI usually results from a sudden and forceful blow to the spine that fractures, crushes, dislocates, or compresses one or more areas of the vertebrae; it could also be due to a knife or gunshot would that pierces and cuts the spinal cord. Non-traumatic spinal cord injury, though, is usually due to disk degeneration of the spine, cancer, arthritis, infections, inflammation, or loss of blood supply to the cord (age is a major factor to developing non-traumatic SCI. This is because risk to the causes of NTSCI increases with age).

An injury to the spinal cord can be devastating as this can result to either partial or total paralysis, depending on how severe the damage is and the area/s affected by the injury. Partial paralysis, referred to as Paraplegia, is loss of control and function on one side of the body. There is a possibility that a partially paralyzed person would still have sensation despite having lost control in the paralyzed area.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., total paralysis, called Quadriplegia, means total loss of functions and control of body parts that are affected. Total paralysis starts from the injured area of the spinal cord down to the rest of the body; this means that the higher the injury, the greater the extent of paralysis.

Negligence is, most often, a factor in accidents resulting to spinal cord injuries. While the person at-fault in an accident may never have intended causing any injury, the fact that he/she was negligent and has actually injured someone are enough reasons to make him/her answer before the law and be made to compensate whoever he/she has harmed. A highly-competent personal injury lawyer may be able to assist a victim either in the legal pursuit or in an out-of-court settlement which will enable (the victim) to seek and claim the just amount of compensation that he/she is legally entitled to receive.