Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can result from trauma, accidents or disease and can cause various symptoms, depending the location of the injury and the severity of it. In many cases, they happen as a result of car accidents. After all, for most people, riding in the car every day is one of the biggest risks they take on a regular basis.
It is important to identify potential symptoms of an SCI. This can be beneficial because seeking prompt medical treatment is critical to the potential recovery of an injury victim, even though some symptoms may not manifest immediately after an injury occurs.
10 top symptoms
As noted above, severity and location make a big difference in what symptoms a person will experience in the wake of an injury. These symptoms can include:
- Loss of movement: Paralysis or loss of voluntary movement in parts of or the entire body below the site of the injury.
- Loss of sensation: Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation or feeling below the injury.
- Difficulty breathing: If the injury is high on the spinal cord, it can affect the muscles involved in breathing, leading to difficulty breathing or respiratory issues.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control: Incontinence or difficulty controlling bowel or bladder function.
- Muscle spasms: Uncontrollable muscle contractions or spasms.
- Changes in sexual function: Loss of sexual function or changes in sexual sensitivity and function.
- Exaggerated reflexes: Overactive reflexes or reflexes that are heightened compared to normal.
- Pain or intense stinging sensation: This type of stinging pain is often caused by nerve damage.
- Low blood pressure: An SCI could lead to a stark drop in blood pressure, which could in turn lead to lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting. This could be due to the inability of the nervous system to regulate blood pressure effectively.
- Difficulty walking or balancing: Trouble with coordination, walking or maintaining balance.
It is worth emphasizing that some symptoms might not be immediately apparent and can develop or change over time as the body responds to the injury.
If there is a suspected spinal cord injury, prompt treatment at a medical center is critical to avoid further damage and compounding complications. Emergency responders or medical professionals will often stabilize the spine and transport an individual to a hospital for evaluation and treatment. This treatment can be very expensive, though, which is why those who have been injured by another party may need to seek compensation through an insurance claim and/or the courts.