Side Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
The side effects that follow a spinal cord injury can severely affect the quality of life and can last for a very long time. Information on the complications that can arise in the aftermath of a spinal cord injury will enable you to be better prepared mentally and financially and also approach the legal aspects of your case with greater clarity. The Law Offices of Alex R. Hernandez Jr. take particular care in considering all future issues that may arise out of a spinal injury and prepare a strong case for compensation.
Pain is a serious issue. You may feel pain in parts of the body with sensation present and those parts that have lost the ability to feel any sensation. Most pain associated with SCI is chronic and is invariably related to nerve damage.
Neuropathic pain, a common fallout of spinal cord injury, occurs when the brain fails to interpret signals sent by damaged nerves. Such pain can occur in injured areas that otherwise have little or no feeling. Adjectives used to describe neuropathic pain include burning, stabbing pain.
Musculoskeletal pain can occur in the upper limbs from overexerting the hands and arms. This pain may appear months or years after a spinal cord injury. Back pain is an issue faced by paraplegics who have undergone spine fusion surgery. Quadriplegics who have to use chin or mouth-operated joysticks may get neck pain.
Visceral pain in a person with a spinal cord injury requires expert diagnosis, because very often it can be a referred pain, i.e. pain away from the site of the problem. Constipation, gallbladder stones, kidney stones, and ulcers are common causes of such pain. Pain management after SCI involves therapy, surgery, medication, and psychology.
Other side effects that may occur after spinal cord injury include issues with:
Bladder control – The messages from the brain to the bladder are not properly conveyed by the damaged nerves; these increase the risk of urinary tract infections and kidney infections.
Bowel movement – Here too, the issue is of controlling bowel movement. The intestines and stomach function as earlier and with special techniques that you learn in rehab, you will be able to exercise better control. A high-fiber diet can also help.
Skin injury – Loss of nerves means that often the skin is unable to inform the brain about changes in pressure, heat, or cold. It is important that you learn and implement skin care techniques to prevent pressure sores and other injuries.
Poor circulation – Inadequate circulation may result in low blood pressure or swellings in the extremities. Circulatory problems also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Autonomic hyperreflexia, a dangerous increase in blood pressure, is another dangerous side effect of spinal cord injuries.
Breathing problems – Breathing issues arising from a spinal injury include pneumonia and difficulty in breathing because of neurological issues that affect the abdomen and chest.
Muscle mass – There are two issues that normally occur with respect to muscles. One, there is a loss of muscle tone and another, there is an uncontrolled tightening of muscles. The latter condition is known as spasticity.
Fitness – Loss of fitness is a common side effect of a spinal cord injury. A forced sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of obesity and heart disease.
If you or someone you know has been injured and received a spinal cord injury call the Law Offices of Alex R. Hernandez Jr. your spinal cord injury lawyers. 1-888-HDZ-LAW-8.