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Immediate signs of a spinal cord injury

In a car accident, you will only have limited time to process what is happening. These accidents often happen without warning and end in a matter of seconds. During those few seconds, your life could change forever.

Once your vehicle comes to rest, you may be better off not moving until you take a personal assessment. There is no way to predict the type or severity of the injuries you suffered during the impact, and moving could make a spinal cord injury worse.

Immediate signs you may have a spinal cord injury

Before emergency medical staff arrive at the scene or you arrive at the hospital, you can only rely on yourself to find out whether you may have suffered a spinal cord injury.

You may want to assess yourself for the following signs of such an injury:

  • Is your neck or back twisted or in an otherwise odd position?
  • Can you breathe easily?
  • Do you feel weak or uncoordinated?
  • Are you unable to move your limbs?
  • Did you lose control of your bowels or bladder?
  • Do you feel severe pressure or pain in your back, neck or head?

If you somehow managed to get out of your vehicle, you may find walking or keeping your balance difficult. If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be best to stay as still as possible until medical help arrives. You will want to let medical professionals know your symptoms and that you suspect that you have a spinal cord injury.

In some cases, you could suffer a moderate to severe spinal cord injury and not realize it until hours or days later. For this reason, it's always a good idea to undergo a complete examination after a serious accident. Otherwise, you could exacerbate your symptoms and cause more damage.

Once you get to the hospital

After assessing your injuries and taking any precautions necessary to keep you immobilized, emergency medical personnel will transport you to the hospital. Doctors can then check you and find out the type of spinal cord injury you suffered, which includes one of the following:

  • If doctors consider your injury incomplete, that means you retained some sensation and motor function below the point of injury. Your prognosis for a full recovery increases with this type of injury.
  • If doctors consider your injury complete, you have no feeling or mobility below the injury site.

Your treatment depends on which type of injury you suffered and where it occurred. Even so, it could take months for you to recover.

Seek the support you need

In addition to obtaining the medical support you need, you may also lean on family and friends during this difficult time. It also makes sense that you would also seek the legal support you need to seek compensation for your current and future financial losses from the party or parties deemed responsible for your injuries.

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