How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Affect the Body?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) can cause complicated damage to a person injured in an accident. These injuries damage the link between the brain and the body to the point where the victim’s movement, sensation, and reflexes are interrupted. The damage sustained depends on the extent of the injury itself; the more complex the damage, the more dysfunctional one’s body may become.
The recovery from spinal cord injuries does vary depending on the patient. Some cases of spinal cord injuries include fatal car accidents, gymnastic mishaps, falling, etc. In other cases, it may be the result of illnesses, such as arthritis and inflammations in the spinal cord.
The injury level is regarded as complete when there is no function below the injury point and incomplete when some function is intact below the point of injury.
Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal Cord Reflexes
The brain sends messages to the body through the spinal cord. The messages are then translated into coordinated movements. When one sustains a spinal injury, the nerves below the injury point react to touches through uncontrollable movements.
Spinal shock is regarded as the loss of spinal reflexes at the point of injury. It is not treatable, and often, the body is left to recover on its own. Studies show that spinal shock can last for a few days or weeks. When one recovers from the shock, there is body stiffness that develops below the point of injury.
The messages sent to the body from the brain also regulate one’s heart rate and blood pressure. An SCI often blocks the flow of these messages, and when that happens, the patient’s heart rate slows down, and their blood pressure drops. Early detection and treatment of neurogenic shock is imperative to prevent irreversible damage or death.
When an SCI occurs, the patent’s senses below the point of injury are altered to the point that they may be unable to sweat. The damage also leads to adjusted body temperature where one may feel hot one minute and extremely cold the next.
Potential Stomach Complications
A spine injury may also affect the intestines and the stomach overall; they may stop working for a while as a result. During this inactivity period, stomach acid is still produced, and it may cause more harm or lead to stomach ulcers if excess acid is not removed. To avoid this, a medical professional may prescribe a preventive ulcer medication or a nasogastric tube can be inserted through the nose to the stomach to extract the acid.
Depending on the SCI level, the patient may have problems swallowing food and medication. In this case, the nasogastric tube is used to deliver liquid formulas to the stomach periodically. In some instances, a surgically placed gastric tube is used. The tube is inserted into the stomach via the abdomen wall.
SCI may also affect one’s bowel movements such that they cannot be controlled. A bowel training program is used in this case. The program includes dieting and medication.
As mentioned, one can suffer an SCI due to falling or a fatal accident. The injury may adversely affect one’s lifestyle; the effect could last a few months or even years. If the spine injury results from negligence or malpractices, then the patient may be eligible for compensation. The settlement you may receive depending on circumstances and your injury may include:
- Up to $340 000 if the damages are very severe.
- Up to $240,000 if the damages are moderately severe.
- Up to $160,000 for not so severe damages.
A spinal cord injury changes one’s lifestyle as it affects their motion, senses, bowel movement, blood pressure, and independence. Though in some instances, the injury severity may result in permanent damage, diet, medication, and physical therapy programs can help aid recovery.