5 Common Spinal Cord Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents
Your spinal cord is one of the most important structures in your body. It carries vital signals from your brain to your muscles and organs. When your spine is injured, these signals can be impaired or completely cut off, making it hard or impossible for your body to regulate breathing, digestion, motion, and other important functions.
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Falls in general account for about a third of all spinal injuries—the second most common cause after car accidents. The type of spinal cord injury caused by a slip and fall accident can vary, though the following are most common.
In a spinal fracture, one or more of your backbones, called vertebrae, may break. When this happens, the pieces of bone can pinch your spinal cord or even damage it. A broken tailbone is a common spinal fracture that occurs in falls, but a fall can impact any of your vertebrae.
Spinal cord injuries can be complete, in which you lose all sensation and control below the injury, or incomplete, in which you lose some sensation and control below the injury. Other times, pressure on the spinal cord can cause ongoing pain.
A spinal fracture can result in all these types of injuries. In addition, pressure or damage on nerves exiting the spinal cord can lead to more limited loss of sensation and control, such as in one arm.
Bones are rigid, but your spine needs to be flexible. To achieve this, your spine has firm but flexible discs between the bones. In a fall, you might knock one or more discs out of place.
Discs can slip out of place because of the pressure compressing down on them vertically, or because a fall hits your spine sideways. You might even dislocate a disc as you contort while trying to avoid a fall.
If your vertebrae are completely separated by an injury, it is called a dislocation. But if vertebrae are only misaligned, it is called a subluxation.
Just like your brain, your spinal cord can get a concussion. A concussion occurs when trauma to your spine causes swelling. In the confines of the spinal column, the swollen tissue puts pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure can cause:
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of motor control.
Unlike other types of spinal cord injuries, a spinal concussion typically resolves within a short period of time. However, evidence suggests that repeated spinal concussions can lead to slower recovery and a greater risk of ongoing injury.
Torn Spinal Cord
Sometimes trauma to the spinal cord can actually cut or tear it. Severing the spinal cord tends to lead to more serious complications, such as ongoing pain, loss of sensation, or loss of motor control. People with a torn spinal cord are more likely to need extensive medical care and therapeutic support. A torn spinal cord might be secondary to a spinal fracture.
A torn spinal cord is also less likely to heal than other spinal cord injuries, even with the most advanced treatment.
When you experience trauma to your spinal cord, you might develop a bruise in your spine. Technically known as a hematoma, a bruise is an accumulation of blood in your body outside your blood vessels.
As with swelling from a spinal concussion, a hematoma can put pressure on your spinal cord, resulting in pain, loss of sensation, or a loss of motor control. Also like a spinal concussion, a hematoma will usually resolve on its own. However, recovery is not as swift, and sometimes you need treatment to avoid serious, long-term injury.
Let Pushchak Law Help
If you experienced a spinal cord injury as a result of a slip and fall accident caused by the negligent actions of another, Pushchak Law can help. We are committed to providing our clients with dedicated, personal care in handling their slip and fall lawsuits. Our Informed Decisions™ approach puts you and your concerns at the center of the process. We are at your service, and do everything we can to ensure a fair outcome in your case.
To start a lawsuit related to spinal cord injury from a slip and fall accident, please call us now at 303-372-6145 for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. Or you can use our online form to schedule a consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and throughout Colorado.
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