What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?

Our Honolulu Personal Injury Lawyers Explain

For spinal cord injury victims, the time that elapses between injury and treatment can be critical to the outcome for the patient. Prompt medical treatment in some cases can reduce the severity of an injury if received soon enough after trauma occurs. For these reasons, it is important to recognize the symptoms of spinal cord injury and to act promptly.

Call (808) 518-2120 to request an initial consultation, free of charge.

Emergency Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

Severe spinal cord injury is not always immediately obvious. Paralysis or numbness can develop gradually from swelling or bleeding in or around the spinal cord. Anyone receiving significant trauma to the head, neck, or back should be medically evaluated at once for damage to the spinal cord.

If you suspect that someone has suffered an injury to the spine, it is extremely important not to lift or move the injured person. It could cause permanent paralysis and other serious complications.

Permanent Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury

The nature and level of impairment from spinal cord injury depends on the location and severity of the injury. Paralysis of the body occurs below the level of the injury.

The severity of the spinal injury may be classified as "complete" or "incomplete." With complete injuries, all or almost all sensation and motor control are lost below the level of the injury. An injury is classified as incomplete, in varying degrees, if there is some remaining sensation and motor function below the level of the injury.

Any of the following symptoms may result from a spinal cord injury:

  • Loss of ability to move parts of the body
  • Loss of sensation, including heat, cold, and touch
  • Changes in fertility and sexual sensitivity and function
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Intense stinging or pain from damage to spinal cord nerve fibers
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing out the lungs

Diagnosing Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal injury victim must be kept immobile and carefully moved to an emergency treatment center. The medical staff will question the patient about the accident and test the patient for mobility and sensory function. If a doctor determines that it is necessary, further tests using various types of imaging will be performed.

Imaging options for spinal injuries include:

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Myelogram, in which the spine is X-rayed after dye is injected
  • Somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP)
  • Magnetic stimulation
  • Spinal X-rays

A doctor will perform a complete neurological exam, usually about the third day after the injury to diagnose how severe the injury may be, and to what extent the patient is likely to recover. The patient will be rated according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) scale, which has 5 classifications, A through E, with A being complete impairment and E being all functions normal.

Leavitt Yamane & Soldner Offers Legal Help for Victims of Spinal Cord Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury ranges from $500,000 to more than $3,000,000. At Leavitt Yamane & Soldner, we help people who have suffered spinal cord injury recover the compensation they need to move forward with their lives.

There are many causes of spinal cord injury, but the number one cause is automobile accidents. If you have suffered spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else's carelessness or negligence, you will undoubtedly have questions about car accident insurance and need legal assistance in dealing with insurance companies.

Contact our law firm for a free consultation. If we believe you have a claim, our Honolulu spinal cord injury lawyers will be a dedicated advocate for you, and will pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.

Our Professionals Are Here to Listen

If you have sustained an injury and want to know if you are eligible to pursue legal action, it is important to obtain help right away. Call our firm at (808) 518-2120 or fill out the quick form below.

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