People frequently believe that a spinal cord injury is easy to self-diagnose. They expect to become unable to walk or feel pain in the event that such an injury occurs. Such symptoms do occur when someone has a complete spinal cord injury. A complete injury involves fully cutting through the spinal cord, rendering it permanently incapable of transmitting communications between the body below the injury site and the brain.
However, people can suffer neck and back injuries in a car crash that may cause an incomplete spinal cord injury. These individuals will not experience paralysis unless their injury worsens. Instead, they will have motor function challenges and other symptoms that could remain static or worsen if their injury progresses.
As a result, those who may have incurred a back or neck injury in a car crash need to recognize the signs of an incomplete spinal cord injury. Prompt diagnosis is the key to getting the treatment they’ll need to prevent permanent, life-altering symptoms.
Incomplete injuries can affect sensation and function
Someone with an injury that has cut, torn or pinched their spinal cord may notice a variety of different symptoms. They may feel intermittent pain or tingling in the body parts below the location of the injury, particularly in their extremities. Pain or a stringing feeling around the spine is also a warning sign. Some people report muscle spasms or very strong reflex actions.
They may notice a reduction in their strength or have difficulty with walking. For some people, just maintaining their balance will be more of a challenge. For those with injuries in their necks, in particular, an incomplete spinal cord injury might also lead to headaches. Incomplete spinal cord injuries can suddenly worsen due to physical activity.
With proper treatment, people can prevent an incomplete injury from worsening and can potentially reduce the symptoms they’ll experience on a day-to-day basis. Yet, some of their symptoms will be permanent, and they will likely have hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime medical expenses, which makes exploring a victim’s legal options important. But, first, getting the right care for an incomplete spinal cord injury can ultimately make a major difference for someone with a back or neck injury caused by a crash.