Vehicle accidents, including seemingly minor rear-end collisions, are a major cause of spinal cord injury.
You may not know much about this kind of injury, so if you should suffer SCI, what can you expect in terms of treatment and recovery?
About the spinal cord
The spinal cord is a highway of nerves that carry impulses from your brain to other parts of your body. It is fragile and susceptible to injury, especially if a sudden blow, such as the impact from a vehicle crash, damages or breaks the vertebrae.
Since symptoms vary widely and may not appear immediately, it is possible to experience a car crash not realizing that you have sustained a spinal cord injury. You could feel pain in your neck or back, muscle spasms or perhaps a tingling sensation in your fingers. Although these could be signs of other issues, they could also indicate an” incomplete“ spinal cord injury. On the other hand, a “complete” SCI is telling since the impact to the spinal column would leave you with no strength or feeling below the site of the injury.
Treatment and recovery
Personal injury from even a minor vehicle collision can be considerable, as SCI demonstrates. If fractures occur to the vertebrae but the spinal cord is not damaged, paralysis may not occur. More serious injuries may require surgery, nerve regeneration treatment or neurorehabilitation. Recovery could take weeks, or the patient might have to manage the effects of SCI for a lifetime. Although doctors have no way to reverse the damage of a spinal cord injury at this time, advances in research are giving the medical community hope for the future.