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Spinal cord injuries can affect life in many ways

From cuts and bruises to brain damage, many Louisiana motorists experience various types of injuries as the result of a car accident. A spinal cord injury, which can occur from a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine, is considered to be one of the most serious injuries that a car accident victim can suffer from. Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for more than 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries every year. Injury to the spinal cord can often result in permanent changes in strength and other body functions.

In an accident, damage may occur to any part of the spinal cord or even the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. The effects of such an injury will depend on where the injury took place along the victim's spinal cord and how severe the injury was. The severity of the injury is referred to as "the completeness," and can be classified as either complete or incomplete.

If all senses and motor function are lost below the injury, the injury is considered complete. If there is some sensory or motor function below the injury, the injury is considered incomplete. Paralysis is also possible as a result of a spinal cord injury. Doctors will perform a series of tests to determine the severity of the injury.

Spinal cord injuries can result in a loss of movement, loss of sensation, exaggerated reflexes and pain. Numbness and paralysis may develop right away or slowly over time due to bleeding or swelling around the spinal cord. Recovering from such an injury can be an extensive process with rehabilitation and therapy. With hard work and patience, those suffering from spinal cord injuries may be able to get back to the way things were before the accident. In some cases however, victims may be facing permanent disability. In either case, compensation may be sought to help with some of the financial burdens these types of injuries can bring upon a family.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Spinal cord injury," accessed Aug. 2, 2015

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