Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury represents one of the most devastating and life-changing injuries you can suffer in a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, auto and motorcycle accidents account for nearly 50% of all traumatic SCIs that occur each year in the U.S.

Signs that you suffered an SCI in your car or bike crash include the following:

  • You feel extreme pain and/or pressure in your neck or back.
  • You notice that your neck or back has become twisted or lies in an unnatural position.
  • You cannot feel your hands, fingers, feet and/or toes.
  • You cannot move your legs and/or arms.
  • You may have difficulties breathing.

Lasting paralysis

By definition, paralysis means the loss of voluntary movement and sensation in some part(s) of your body. When you suffer an SCI, you become partially or totally paralyzed below your point of injury. If your car or bike crash results in what health care professionals call a complete SCI, you will no longer be able to move or feel the affected parts of your body. Conversely, if you suffer an incomplete SCI, you likely will retain limited feeling and the ability to move your affected body parts.

An SCI to your mid to lower back results in your becoming a paraplegic. This means that you cannot walk because you have limited, if any, control of your legs or feet. Therefore, you likely will spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. The paralysis will likely also cause you to lose control of your bladder and bowel functions.

An SCI to your neck or upper back results in your becoming a tetraplegic, aka quadriplegic. This severe form of paralysis affects virtually your entire body. Not only can you not move your legs and feet, but you also cannot move your arms, hands and fingers. Quadriplegia makes it impossible for you to take care of yourself. You require round-the-clock care from others to do such simple everyday activities as eat, drink, bathe, comb your hair, brush your teeth and the myriad of other things you currently do almost without thinking.

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