Every year in Ontario, many people suffer spinal cord injuries (SCI) as a result of an accident. Spinal cord injuries can either be a complete or incomplete injury.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a life changing event. Apart from the significant pain caused by the injury, a person who has suffered a spinal cord injury requires vast amounts of treatment and support in order to maintain a semblance of normal life.
A complete injury will leave you without feeling, function or sensation below the level of the injury. The degree of paralysis depends upon the severity of your injury.
While commonly associated with motor vehicle collisions, spinal cord injuries can also be caused by ATV accidents, falls, diving accidents, and many other types of trauma.
There are two main types of traumatic spinal cord injuries resulting in permanent impairment:
– Quadriplegic or tetraplegia is paralysis causing the partial or complete loss of the use of the limbs and torso.
– Paraplegia is paralysis causing the partial or complete loss of the use of the legs and torso. The arms are not typically impacted by paraplegia.
Paraplegia and quadriplegia can be categorized as being complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that there is no sensation or motor function below the area of injury.
By comparison, an incomplete spinal cord injury means that there may be sensation below the area of injury. For example, in the case of an incomplete paraplegic, they may feel some sensation in one of their legs. Despite this feeling, they are unable to use that leg in any meaningful way.
An incomplete injury usually features some compression or injury to your spinal cord and can result in a loss of bowel and bladder control, problems sensing heat or cold, a pins and needles sensation in the arms or legs or a loss of function in your torso or limbs.
The losses associated with a spinal cord injury are tremendous. Not only does the victim require significant medical and rehabilitation support, but everyday tasks such as using the bathroom, dressing, or preparing a simple meal may need to be done with the support of an attendant. In the cases of the most severe spinal cord injuries, a 24 hour attendant may be required. The cost of obtaining this type of support over a lifetime is in the millions of dollars.
In addition to pain and limitations placed on a person with a spinal cord injury, they are also at great risk for further injury because of their disability. Falls can occur when attempting to transfer into or out of a wheelchair. In some cases, a muscle spasm could result in a person falling from their chair.
Injuries from falls are not the only secondary health problems faced by those with a spinal cord injury. Paraplegics and quadriplegics can also suffer bladder and bowel problems, depression, obesity, and deconditioning from inactivity. These issues, in turn, can cause social isolation and prevent an injured person from being engaged in their community.
While there is no cure for quadriplegia or paraplegia, there are many things that can be done to help improve the quality of life of someone with a spinal cord injury. These include therapy and treatment to increase strength and mobility of the parts of the body that have sensation and adopting new techniques and strategies to complete activities of daily living independently.
In addition to treatment, there are a variety of other measures which can be taken to improve the quality of life and independence of a person with a spinal cord injury. These can include receiving assistance from a dietician to ensure that a balanced diet is being consumed, receiving a vehicle modified to allow for operation via hand controls, or even home modifications that allow a person with a spinal cord injury to live independently.
In order to confront the issues presented by a spinal cord injury, a multidisciplinary team is needed. Most times, these consist of not only specialized physicians, but physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and rehabilitation support workers.
The personal injury lawyers at Oatley Vigmond work with a wide range of experts to help get the much needed treatment and support required with spinal cord injuries. They are dedicated to ensuring you receive the most compensation possible to cover the costs of the road ahead. To receive your free consultation call us toll free at 1-888-662-2481.