What is Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)? SCI is damage to the spinal cord that causes loss of mobility or feeling. Common causes include trauma (falls, car accidents, sports accidents) or disease (polio, spina bifida, etc.) The spinal cord does not have to be severed to cause a loss of function. For most people with SCI the spinal cord is intact. SCI is very different from back injuries such as pinched nerves and ruptured disks.
It is possible for a person to “break” their back or neck and not sustain a spinal cord injury. If only the vertebrae are damaged but the spinal cord is not affected the person may not experience paralysis after the bones are stabilized.
What are the effects of SCI? The effects of SCI vary depending on the severity and level of the injury. Injuries to the spinal cord can be divided into two categories – Complete and Incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no sensory and voluntary motor function below the level of the injury and affects both sides of the body. A person with incomplete injury may be able to move one limb more than another and may have feeling in parts of the body that cannot be moved.
Is there a cure for SCI? There are many active research programs for SCI but currently there is no cure.
Do people with SCI ever get better? When SCI occurs there is usually an initial swelling of the spinal cord. When the swelling begins to go down the patient may regain some functioning. With many injuries the person may regain some function.
Do people with SCI die sooner? Approximately 90% of people with SCI survive their injuries. Many of them have a near normal life expectancy. There are some common symptoms that can affect life expectancy such as urinary tract infections, pressure sores and respiratory infections. Facilities that specialize in SCI care can help reduce these problems.
Does SCI affect sexual function and fertility? It is possible for individuals with spinal cord injury to have a normal and satisfying sex life. In men fertility may be reduced but it is still possible to have children. For women fertility may be affected in the first few months after injury. Most women regain their ability to become pregnant and carry a baby to term.
If you or a family member have recently suffered a spinal cord injury you certainly have more questions than answers. That is why you need a lawyer who is experienced in spinal cord injury. Please contact one at Truitt Law Offices today.