Spinal Cord Injury: Causes, Symptoms and Recovery
The University of Alabama’s National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that there are anywhere from 236,000 to 327,000 people in the United States who have a spinal cord injury (SCI) , with approximately 12,000 new cases being reported each year. Although results vary, studies show that the majority of spinal injuries occur as a result of:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Work-related injury and accidents
- Sporting/recreation accidents
- Slips and falls
The closer the injury is to your brain (the higher up in your spinal column), the more likely your condition will be severe. For example, actor Christopher Reeve suffered complete paralysis after being thrown from his horse at a riding competition and shattering his first and second vertebrae.
Although many severe cases of SCI involve paralysis, other symptoms such as reduced muscle control or sensation in any part of your body, breathing difficulties or loss of bowel and/or bladder control may be the sign of a serious spinal cord injury as well. In fact, any form of back pain, neck pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms and legs, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision or even nausea may be due to injury to your spinal cord and should be checked out by a healthcare professional.
The costs of living with SCI can be significant. The average expenses of someone with an injury like Reeve’s is nearly $1 million for the first year and over $170,000 for each subsequent year. Most individuals with paraplegia have expenses close to $500,000 for the first year and around $65,000 per year thereafter. If you suffer from any reduction in muscle control as a result of a spinal cord injury, your expenses could be $40,000 per year for the rest of your life.
Depending on how your injury was sustained, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation or personal injury damages. Contact our office today for more information about spinal cord injuries and victims’ rights.