Spinal Cord Injury Update
Most Spinal Cord Injuries [“SCI”] in young people result from car crashes, while falls are the leading cause for SCI for people over 65. About half of SCI occurs in those 16-30 years of age, mostly in males (80%). Poor SCI outcomes can also result from delays in treatment or surgical malpractice.
The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) has a grading scale for SCI, as follows:
- ASIA A: injury is complete spinal cord injury with no sensory or motor function preserved.
- ASIA B: a sensory incomplete injury with complete motor function loss.
- ASIA C: a motor incomplete injury, where there is some movement, but less than half the muscle groups are anti-gravity (can lift up against the force of gravity with a full range of motion).
- ASIA D: a motor incomplete injury with more than half of the muscle groups are anti-gravity.
- ASIA E: normal.
A complete SCI produces total loss of all motor and sensory function below the level of injury. Nearly 50% of all SCIs are complete. Both sides of the body are equally affected. Even with a complete SCI, the spinal cord is rarely cut or transected. More commonly, loss of function is caused by a contusion or bruise to the spinal cord or by compromise of blood flow to the injured part of the spinal cord.
In an incomplete SCI, some function remains below the primary level of the injury. A person with an incomplete injury may be able to move one arm or leg more than the other or may have more functioning on one side of the body than the other.
Spinal concussions can also occur. These can be complete or incomplete, but spinal cord dysfunction is transient, generally resolving within one or two days.
Following trauma, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Extreme pain or pressure in the neck, head or back
- Tingling or loss of sensation in the hand, fingers, feet or toes
- Partial or complete loss of control over any part of the body
- Urinary or bowel urgency, incontinence or retention
- Abnormal band-like sensations in the thorax (pain, pressure)
- Impaired breathing after injury
- Unusual lumps on the head or spine
The Girards Law Firm represents those who have suffered spinal cord injuries due to truck and car crashes, industrial incidents, and surgical malpractice.