Spinal cord injuries involve damage to both the spinal cord and the nerves located at the end of the spine. Since these injuries involve nerves and cells that send information to and from the brain, they may cause long-lasting pain and lifestyle changes for Massachusetts residents.
In many cases, people sustain spinal injuries as the result of car accidents. Some of the other most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Stab wounds
- Diving accidents
- Sporting events
Symptoms of spinal cord injuries
People who experience spinal cord injuries often report severe symptoms. Injuries to the spinal cord typically cause these symptoms:
- Inability to move
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Changes in sexual responses
- Difficulty breathing
- Intense stinging sensations in your back
- Numbness in your feet or hands
- Impaired breathing
- Difficulty walking
- Trouble keeping your balance
Levels of spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur in one of four levels: sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. The specific level that your injury occurs in may determine exactly what type of effects your injury has in both the long-term and short-term.
Cervical spinal injuries typically affect your head and neck, and may result in the most severe injuries. Thoracic spinal injuries affect your upper chest, abdominal muscles and mid-back. Thoracic spinal cord injuries typically affect your arms and hands.
Lumbar spinal cord injuries affect your legs and hips, and these injuries may require the use of a wheelchair. Sacral spinal injuries affect hips, buttocks, pelvis, and thighs. While the pain of sacral spinal injuries may be severe, most patients retain their ability to walk without assistance.
Effects of spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries frequently result in long-term disability and may affect your ability to remain employed. You are likely to experience a decline in your daily quality of life.