Every year, more than 4,200 people suffer spinal cord injuries in Canada, according to The Incidence and Prevalence of Spinal Cord Injury in Canada by the Rick Hansen Institute and Urban Futures. Nearly 1,800 of those are the result of traumatic spinal cord injury. The report estimates there are 85,556 people living with spinal cord injury in the nation.
The symptoms of spinal cord trauma vary according to the severity of the injury, which spinal structures were harmed and the site where the injury occurred.
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Symptoms of Spinal Cord Trauma
The spinal cord comprises 31 pairs of nerves that travel through the body and extremities. It’s housed within the spinal canal, which is surrounded by 24 vertebral bones that help protect the spinal cord from injury. The nerves within the spinal cord connect the brain to the rest of the body. Damage to the spinal cord can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Possible signs of spinal cord trauma include the following.
- Weakness, numbness, pain or tingling sensation in extremities.
- loss of motor function.
- loss of sensation below the site of injury.
- loss of bowel and bladder function.
- muscle spasms.
- loss of sexual function and impaired fertility.
- difficulty breathing and/or coughing.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The medical community categorizes spinal trauma into two general groups.
- Complete – a complete spinal cord injury is one that causes a total loss of sensation and motor function below the level of injury.
- Incomplete – with an incomplete injury, the victim still retains some sensation and motor function below the level of injury.
In addition, spinal cord injuries are categorized according to their causes.
- Traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) – the injury is considered a tSCI when it was caused by an external physical event, such as a car accident, fall or act of violence.
- Non-traumatic spinal cord injury (ntSCI) – if the spinal cord has been damaged as a result of a health condition, such as disease, infection, or a tumour growth, it’s considered an ntSCI. Examples of ntSCIs include infectious and inflammatory diseases and more.
Prompt and Continuous Care is Essential for Spinal Cord Injuries
There is currently no cure for spinal cord damage, but prompt and continuous medical care can help minimize the effects of the trauma. Swelling compounds and complicates spinal injuries because it compresses the spinal components. Early treatment focuses on reducing swelling at the injury site, stabilizing the patient and reducing the risk of complications.
Spinal cord injuries require long-term and continuous care. In-home care, rehabilitation and psychological treatments are also usually part of the treatment program.
The treatments – not to mention all medical aids needed and making your home and vehicle disability-friendly – can be very costly. SCI patients or their families can speak to a lawyer about the possibility of recuperating damages in a claim to recover or help offset the expenses if the injury is the result of an accident for which another party is liable.
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Preszler Law Can Help with Spinal Trauma Cases in Ontario
If you or your loved one suffered a spinal cord injury and wish to explore options to recover damages, call Preszler Law in Ontario for legal assistance. Contact our injury lawyers for a free legal consultation at 1-800-JUSTICE®.