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Car accidents can cause various injuries that range from minor to severe. Similarly, the consequences of these injuries vary widely. Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe, as they can negatively impact your mobility and way of life.
If you struggle with a spinal cord injury that prevents you from enjoying your life, let our experienced car accident doctor in New York assist you in recovery. Spinal injuries often affect every aspect of the way you move. Dive into the details below.
What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
When a car accident causes a spinal cord injury, a few specific things may trigger the issue:
- If a passenger doesn’t wear a seatbelt, they could sustain a spinal injury as a result. Seatbelts keep your body firmly in place. Without them, your upper torso could flail aimlessly, which puts stress on your spine.
- Drivers who drive over the speed limit may sustain more severe injuries. The faster your car goes, the more momentum it picks up. When a situation forces you to stop quickly, your body will keep moving at the same speed unless otherwise stopped.
- People with distracted driving habits can’t effectively anticipate hazards on the road. They are more likely to maintain their speed or not stop when they encounter a situation that requires action. These habits put them and others in danger of spinal injuries.
If you want to avoid an injurious car accident, avoid speeding, wear your seatbelt, and remain vigilant while driving. However, accidents still happen, even to the most cautious drivers.
Serious accidents may result in severe injuries.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
What does a spinal cord injury feel like? If you aren’t familiar with back and spine injuries, you might not know when you need assistance from a neurologist after a car accident. Common symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries include:
- Localized stiffness in the shoulders and neck
- Pain that originates in your back, legs, and hips
- Dizzy sensations
- Tingling sensations in your extremities that resemble a pins-and-needles feeling
- Loss of sensation or numbness in your limbs
- Loss of function in affected limbs
- Unexplained exhaustion
- Headaches that radiate from the bottom of your skull
- Uncontrolled muscle spasms
- Limited range of motion
- Chronic pain that emanates from the area of the injury or affected body parts
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
What are the most common types of spinal cord injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents? Spinal injuries come in many forms. You might recognize some of the most common ones listed below.
Many people categorize whiplash as an entirely different injury. However, an analysis published on Science Direct identifies whiplash as a type of cervical spine injury. Around 869,000 cervical spine injuries occur due to car accidents.
Symptoms like soreness and stiffness in the neck and back often accompany whiplash. You might also struggle with headaches.
The vertebrae are the bones that surround and protect your spinal cord. Sometimes blunt force, rapid movements, and impact cause the vertebrae to fracture. As a result, the vertebrae may put more pressure on certain nerves, which causes painful sensations in different parts of your body.
Mild to moderate ruptures often heal without invasive medical procedures. However, serious breaks may require surgery. Ruptured vertebrae can result in paralysis, loss of bladder control, and numbness in the extremities.
The impact of a violent car accident can cause soft tissues in between the vertebrae to slide out of place. These jelly-like discs cushion the vertebrae so that they don’t sit directly on top of each other. You might experience sharp, sudden pain down one of your legs. Sometimes this pain may manifest in your foot.
Without treatment, a slipped disc can evolve into a herniated disc. Herniated discs often cause lower back pain that occurs during movement, such as walking. You might also experience leg weakness.
A 2020 analysis published on Science Direct states that the majority of lower back pain develops from car accidents.
Indicators of an Emergency
If you’ve struggled with symptoms that indicate a spinal cord injury, you may not know when you need emergency treatment. Dealing with constant pain often causes people to dismiss even more serious symptoms. However, you should seek immediate medical attention if:
- You become paralyzed or unable to move a part of your body.
- You struggle to stand, walk, and sit down.
- You detect pressure within your neck, head, or back.
- You cannot control your bowel movements or urination.
- You lose your sense of touch in your fingers or toes.
These issues indicate that the injury has worsened. It will continue to degenerate and affect your life until you seek appropriate treatment.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Options
An experienced neurologist can offer several options for spinal cord injury treatment. They can customize your treatment plan to fit your specific needs.
Different types of spinal injuries require different treatment options. If you suffer several spinal injuries, you can expect the following types of treatment.
As soon as you can, seek emergency medical treatment. Emergency room personnel specialize in keeping your body still and steady to avoid worsening your injury or causing more. They may also offer to identify your specific injury, which lends to a quicker recovery.
You may receive a diagnosis in the emergency room or at a subsequent visit with a neurologist. Either way, prompt diagnosis allows you to move on to the recovery phase of your injury. Once you understand your injury, you’ll know more about how to manage and care for it during the coming weeks and months.
Pain Management Routine
Your neurologist may prescribe medications to stop inflammation and ease any pain associated with your injury. These prescriptions may immediately improve your mobility. However, use caution and avoid injuring your spine further.
Recovery plans vary depending on the patient. Some patients require surgeries, which increases their recovery time. Others need a physical therapy routine with a qualified physical therapist.
Your neurologist may also help you develop an exercise routine to do at home. This routine will address any injuries and soreness caused by your injury. The exercises can help you regain mobility, strength, and sensation in the affected body parts.
Talk With Neuro Injury Care Institute, NYC’s Top Neurologist After a Car Accident
If you think a car accident has caused you debilitating spinal cord injuries, you need to get an opinion from a neurologist or primary caregiver. Choose our qualified doctors at Neuro Injury Care Institute by calling (347) 602-9530.
Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.
FAQs About Spinal Cord Injuries
Can a Person with a Spinal Cord Injury Walk?
Yes, a person with a spinal cord injury can walk. The spine and its tissues can adapt to new circumstances. Proper pain management and recovery plans can also help increase mobility.
Does Spinal Cord Damage Heal Completely?
No, spinal cord damage doesn’t heal completely in most cases. However, comprehensive treatment can greatly improve your prognosis and protect your ability to function on a daily basis.
Can a Spinal Cord Injury Cause Memory Loss?
No, a spinal cord injury alone will not cause memory loss. However, spinal cord injuries often occur alongside other injuries that do affect memory loss. Thus, many people make such associations.