A spinal cord injury, or SCI, normally develops from a sudden blow to the spine.
The impact could come from a fall. It could happen during a contact sport. However, a car crash, even a minor collision, is often the cause of a spinal cord injury.
SCI is damage to any portion of the sensitive and vulnerable spinal cord with temporary or permanent repercussions. Damage can alter the primary function of this compact bundle of nerves, which is to carry impulses from the brain to other parts of the body.
Symptoms of SCI are not always immediately recognizable after a vehicle accident. The victim may experience pain or a stinging sensation. Later he or she may develop a cough or have breathing difficulties. These could also indicate some other kind of injury. However, more serious symptoms include loss of mobility or an inability to feel heat, cold or touch. With a “complete” injury, there is an inability to feel anything below the site of the injury, but with an “incomplete” SCI, some functioning still exists. In the most severe cases, the victim might suffer paraplegia-paralysis of the legs or quadriplegia-paralysis of both arms and both legs.
At this time, there is no way to reverse this kind of spinal cord damage, although research is ongoing. However, prosthetic devices and medications can help with nerve cell regeneration and aid in maintaining the function of undamaged nerves. Recovery may include lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation. Those who sustain SCI as victims of vehicle crashes have the right to expect full and fair compensation to cover current and future medical expenses and more.