The long-term effects of a spinal cord injury

The long-term effects of a spinal cord injury

The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissues inside the vertebral canal. It connects to the brain and carries messages to the body. When an individual in Nevada suffers spinal cord damage, there is a loss of movement, sensation and organ function below the injury. This typically happens when a blow fractures or dislocates the vertebrae, which are the small bones that form the backbone. Injuries to the spinal cord frequently cause permanent disabilities and fatalities in children and adults.

Common causes of spinal cord injuries include falls, sports accidents and motor vehicle crashes. They usually cause an area of the spine to bend or compress, which many Nevada injury lawyers know. When it is complete, the injury causes the loss of all function below it. This can happen to any part of the spinal cord. Incomplete injuries leave some function, including limited movement and feeling.


When a spinal cord injury is acute, there may be spinal shock for several hours or weeks. Nevada injury lawyers may be aware that, as this fades, other symptoms develop. These differ depending on where the injury is located. Typically, injuries closer to the top of the spine are more severe. The respiratory muscles and the ability to breathe may be affected. Lower injuries can affect the bladder, bowel and legs. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Loss of feeling
  • Breathing problems
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Digestive issues

According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, spinal cord injuries are classified by the type of motor and sensory function loss a person experiences. Quadriplegia indicates a loss of movement and sensation in the arms and legs, and it affects the chest muscles, as well. An individual with quadriplegia may require a ventilator to breathe. Paraplegia means a loss of movement and sensation in both legs. Triplegia involves one arm and both legs, and is often the result of an incomplete spinal cord injury.


Any spinal cord injury constitutes a medical emergency, and getting treatment immediately may reduce some of the long-term effects. Medicines, braces, traction and surgery are often the first stages. As healing progresses, rehabilitation often helps the injured person to cope with the damage. The goal is to help the victim achieve the highest level of function possible, as well as improving the physical, emotional and social qualities of life. Self-care and mobility skills, pain management, occupational therapy and psychological counseling are frequently part of rehabilitation programs.

Victims of spinal cord injuries that occur due to another’s careless or harmful actions may be able to receive compensation for the devastating losses and expenses resulting from the tragedy. Nevada injury lawyers may be able to provide legal representation to hold any guilty parties liable for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and rehabilitation expenses.