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Post-car-crash symptoms may not be enough to identify SCI

While many of the symptoms of a spinal cord injury, or SCI, are obvious, your body can mask certain red flags after a traumatic incident such as a vehicle crash.

Even a minor collision may be enough to injure to your spine, and that could result in SCI, so a prompt medical diagnosis is essential.

Spinal cord function

The spinal cord consists of nerves that transmit impulses, or messages, from your brain to other areas in your body. An injury to any part of the spinal cord could cause temporary or permanent alterations to its function.

The causes of SCI

Spinal cord injury could result if your spine is weak due to an arthritic condition, cancer, disc degeneration or infections. An incident in sports or an ordinary fall can also cause SCI, but motor vehicle crashes cause nearly half of all spinal cord injuries in the U.S. If the spine suffers a traumatic blow in a collision, the impact could displace vertebrae or fracture bones and cause residual damage to the spinal cord.

Injury symptoms

A lot of chaos occurs after a vehicle crash. You may feel some pain in various parts of your body, especially your back, or have difficulty breathing. These could be symptoms of not only SCI, but of other injuries or conditions, as well. However, if you have mobility problems; lose the ability to feel touch, heat or cold; or experience a loss of bowel or bladder control, you could have a spinal cord injury. Any of these symptoms require prompt medical attention.

The outlook

At present, doctors cannot reverse a spinal cord injury, and many cases are severe. A complete SCI will cause quadriplegia-paralysis of arms and legs whereas an incomplete, or partial, SCI affects the legs only in paraplegia-paralysis. Rehabilitation programs, medications and prosthetic devices can help patients recover on some level while research for a cure continues. Treatment is very expensive, but the patient whose SCI resulted from another person’s negligence can fight for full and fair financial compensation to cover current and future medical expenses and more.