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Living with an incomplete spinal cord injury

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2021 | Car accidents

In an auto accident, one of the injuries a person could suffer is an incomplete spinal cord injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury describes an injury that does not completely severe or damage the spinal cord.

Incomplete injuries have the potential to cause weakness, partial paralysis, pain, unusual sensations and other symptoms. These injuries could potentially progress to complete injuries due to swelling or uncontrolled movement of discs or vertebrae in some cases.

Understanding your incomplete injury

Initially, an incomplete spinal cord injury may seem more severe than it will be once the swelling subsides. Those who believe they have fully lost control of their motor functions or the feeling below a point on the spine may be fortunate to discover that they actually have at least some sensation and movement below that point.

Over time, it may be possible to recover more sensation or to gain better functionality, but this largely depends on how high up the spinal cord the injury occurred. The higher the injury is, the less likely it is that you will regain functions below that point.

The symptoms of an incomplete spinal cord injury

The symptoms seen with spinal cord injuries can range significantly. Incomplete injuries may have signs such as:

  • A loss of motion
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Trouble breathing (when the injury is higher on the spine)
  • A loss of sensation below the point of the injury

Paralysis is not the only risk with a spinal cord injury. Chronic pain and dysfunction may also occur, which is why it’s important to seek quick medical care once an injury has occurred.

How does rapid medical care play a role in recovery?

With spinal cord damage, time is of the essence. The sooner pressure on the spinal cord can be reduced or the damage can be repaired, the more likely it is that you will regain at least some functionality and feeling. This is why it’s always necessary to go to the emergency room or to see a doctor as soon as you can after a car crash. Early medical intervention can make a lasting difference on your recovery.