Spinal injuries are one of the widespread injuries that affect millions of people. It is stated that 13 of every 100,000 people in the United States suffer from spinal injuries of varying severity. More than 494 fatal car accidents occurred in Washington, DC, in 2019. As car accidents are the prime contributor to spinal injuries, it would be safe to say that many people in Washington, DC, run the risk of severe spinal injuries.
Dealing with spinal injuries can be challenging if you don’t know what to do. Thankfully there are different pain management clinics Washington DC that can help you with the sophisticated treatment of spinal injuries of any severity. Despite that, you should have some basic understanding of spinal injuries, how you can avoid them, and what you need to do to deal with spinal injury victims. That is why here is everything you need to know about Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI).
What constitutes a spinal cord injury?
A spinal injury can be defined as damage to the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the Cauda Equina or the spinal canal. Spinal injuries often cause loss of strength and sensation in different body parts, leading to personal disabilities and paralysis. It usually happens below the injury site, mostly in lower body parts.
Spinal injuries are way more than typical injuries mainly because it makes the victim entirely dependent on another person even to do the basic tasks like walking or going to the bathroom. It can lead to immense physical and emotional trauma, leading to depression.
What are the symptoms of spinal injuries?
Spinal injuries can severely affect your ability to move your limbs. Your ability to move entirely depends on the severity of the damage and which part of the spinal cord is injured. The severity of the injury is measured based on completeness.
If the sensory feelings and motor functions are lost below the injury site, it is called complete spinal injury. If you still have some sensory feelings and can control the movement below the injured part of the spinal cord, it is called an incomplete spinal injury. The paralysis caused by spinal injuries is also classified into two types.
Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is when your hands, arms, legs, torso, and pelvic organs are affected by the injury of your spinal cord.
Paraplegia is the condition where your trunk and lower body parts like legs and pelvic organs get paralyzed due to spinal injury.
Here are some more symptoms and signs that can help you recognize spinal injuries.
- Loss of control on the movement of body parts
- Loss of sensory feelings and ability to sense cold, heat, or touch
- Loss of bowel and bladder function control
- Muscle spasms and overactive reflexes
- Affected sexual sensitivity, fertility, and function
- Intense pain in spinal cord
- Extreme difficulty in coughing, sneezing, and breathing.
How to avoid minor spinal injuries?
The primary reasons behind spinal injuries are motor accidents and accidental falls. If you pay attention, you can avoid some minor spinal injuries. Here are a few tips for doing that.
- Never drive a car or motorcycle under the alcohol or any other drug influence
- Always wear a seat belt while driving
- Wear a certified helmet while riding a motorcycle
- Avoid walking on slippery floors
- Never leave things unattended on the floor of your house
- Pay special attention while using firearms and keep them unloaded and locked away
- Wear a helmet while participating in any adventure sport that can lead to injuries.
Why should you consult a spine specialist?
You should consult a medical health professional in any case of an accident. If you suffer from major trauma to your head or neck, you might need an immediate diagnosis for a spinal injury. It’s best to assume that the victim of extreme physical trauma to the head and neck has a spinal injury until diagnosed otherwise. That way, you avoid any chances of escalating the injury and making it worse.
Workplace injuries are also a major contributor to spinal injuries. Spinal injuries are more prevalent in construction sites and mining operations that involve heavy machinery and laborers working on dangerous heights. You’d be shocked to know that a total of 68 fatal work injuries happened in Washington, DC, in 2018. That is why you should always consult a spine injury specialist in such cases. There are various spine and pain management clinics in Washington, DC, to help you get diagnosed and follow the proper treatment.
Never ignore or underestimate spinal injuries. They can lead to permanent disability and leave a lasting physical, psychological, and social impact on your life.