There are estimated to be more than 10,000 spinal cord injuries in the United States every year. The consequences of a spinal cord injury can be devastating. Approximately 200,000 Americans live with the lasting effects of spinal cord injury on a day-to-day basis.
The costs of continuing care can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, not to mention the emotional toll these injuries take on the individual involved along with the family members who care for them.
Location of Injury to Spinal Cord
Spinal cord injury high on the spinal cord produces more widespread paralysis. For example, an injury at the level of the neck can cause paralysis of the arms and legs and make it impossible to breathe without the aid of a respirator. An injury at the level of the lower back may affect the legs and the lower body only.
Signs and Symptoms
· After a suspected spinal cord injury, the signs and symptoms to look for include:
· Difficulty breathing
· Pain or stinging sensation which is caused by damage to nerve fibers
· Loss of movement
· Loss of sensation
· Loss of bladder and bowel control
Sustaining a spinal cord injury is a life changing event that is frightening and confusing. It will leave you wondering how it will affect your everyday life and how you will be able to cope with the challenges ahead of you.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
There is no way to reverse spinal cord injury, but advances in recent years have improved the recovery and rehabilitation time of people with this injury. Researchers have discovered new treatments and medications that promote nerve cell regeneration or improve function of the remaining nerves after a spinal cord injury. These treatments focus on allowing people with spinal cord injuries to return to a productive life within the limits of their disability.