Secondary Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries

Secondary Complications of Spinal Cord InjuriesAccording to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are currently over 280,000 people suffering from spinal cord injuries and about 17,000 new cases that appear each year across the United States. Many people do not realize that spinal cord injuries can lead to secondary and long-term complications. They often assume that you can heal from a spinal cord injury and eventually get back on your feet just like before the accident.

However, this is usually not the case. Instead, victims of spinal cord injuries may suffer from long-term breathing issues, muscle problems, tingling and numbness, and so much more. Here are nine secondary complications that individuals in Lancaster, PA often experience after being diagnosed with spinal cord injuries.

1. Chronic pain

Chronic pain is one of the most common complications that spinal cord injury patients mention. They may feel pain in their muscles, joints, bones, and tendons. Pain can develop when certain symptoms are left untreated or when individuals become dependent on their unaffected limbs and body parts. For example, if a person must now learn to use a wheelchair, they will be using their arms and shoulders more often, which can lead to muscle sprains and strains as well as musculoskeletal pain.

2. Scoliosis

When an individual’s spine has a sideways curve, this is referred to as scoliosis. Children and teenagers typically develop scoliosis. However, adults can develop this condition after being in a serious accident that caused a spinal cord injury. Although scoliosis is usually mild, it can become severe quickly, leading to permanent disability.

3. Osteoporosis

A person who has a spinal cord injury may become paralyzed or unable to move and function like they used to. When this happens, they become less active, causing them to develop osteoporosis. This type of condition occurs when bones become weak, brittle, and more likely to break. Osteoporosis can become so severe that an individual may break or fracture a bone when simply coughing, bending over, or lifting a heavy object.

4. Pneumonia

Spinal cord injuries make it very difficult for people to cough and completely clear any fluids in their lungs. In fact, when an individual has a cervical spinal cord injury, their diaphragm may become impaired. This not only makes it difficult to cough, but it can also cause serious breathing issues. After some time, the individual may develop pneumonia, which is when your lungs become infected and fill up with liquids and fluids.

5. Bladder issues

If the spinal cord is unable to relay messages from the brain to your bladder, it can lead to complete bladder dysfunction. As a matter of fact, many individuals with spinal cord injuries cannot fully empty their bladder or often develop kidney stones, bladder infections, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, and bladder cancer. These are serious complications that need to be managed and treated immediately.

6. Respiratory problems

Your chest and abdominal muscles can become seriously affected by spinal cord injuries, especially if the injuries are located within the upper back or neck. When these injuries become worse and you lose certain functions, you may start to develop breathing and respiratory problems. As a result, your doctor may prescribe medications or recommend certain physical therapy techniques to help with these issues, but sometimes they are unpreventable.

7. Nerve and muscle conditions

Other common complications that may emerge after a spinal cord injury are nerve and muscle conditions. These types of conditions often cause weakness and tingling within certain areas of the body. Many individuals who suffer from these complications also experience pain, loss of muscle tone, and muscle tightening. There isn’t much you can do to prevent these types of conditions, but sometimes your doctor may prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medications to help alleviate your symptoms.

8. Pressure sores

Since most people who have spinal cord injuries typically cannot move or function the same way that they did before the injury, they often lay or sit in the same positions for long periods of time. When this happens, the patient experiences numbness in certain parts of their body, making it difficult for them to feel any pain or notice that it may be time to move around. This can lead to pressure sores (sometimes referred to as bedsores), which have the ability to block blood flow and oxygen from reaching certain areas within the body. As a result, small, painful sores may start to form, which can lead to infections. Therefore, it is important that you have a caregiver who can move you around every couple of hours to help prevent pressure sores from occurring.

9. Depression and other psychological problems

Many people only associate spinal cord injuries with physical problems. However, many spinal cord injury victims face lifelong depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues. The reason for this is because they now have to learn how to adjust to their new daily activities and routine as well as cope with their new quality of life. They must also accept the fact that they will never have their old life back, which can be a huge mental struggle. That said, victims of spinal cord injuries usually visit counselors and psychologists for the rest of their lives to help them with their ongoing emotional trauma and mental distress.

If you suffer from a spinal cord injury with secondary complications due to another person’s negligent behavior, KBG Injury Law is here to help you through this tough time. Our personal injury lawyers in Lancaster, PA have over 40 years of experience assisting spinal cord injury victims, and we work diligently to help them secure the compensation they deserve.

To learn more about your rights and schedule a free case evaluation, call or fill out our contact form today. We have five legal offices that you can visit for your convenience, which are York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg. Our team looks forward to speaking with you soon.