Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

Complications of spinal injuries can be chronic

After a spinal injury, most people believe that a person just doesn't feel anything. The truth is that not all spinal injuries are the same, and the symptoms vary dramatically.

Depending on the severity of the injury, a person could suffer from pain for years, whereas another person may feel nothing and need assistance regulating his or her body temperature. Spinal injuries expose a person to a risk of ongoing and chronic complications.

What are some complications that could occur?

One major side effect of a spinal injury is respiratory trouble. Respiratory complications are the most common cause of death in chronic and acute stages. Respiratory complications depend completely on where the spine is injured and if the respiratory system has become affected.

Many people suffer symptoms of decreased lung function following a spinal cord injury (SCI). The reason is simple: When someone can't walk, exercise or participate in activities as well as in the past, the respiratory system suffers as a result.

Another complication that can arise is bladder dysfunction. An SCI could impact the way the urinary tract works, making it difficult or impossible for an individual to go to the bathroom on his or her own. The use of catheters exposes the patient to a risk of infection. Unregulated nerve impulses or lesions can lead to incontinence, which then causes the patient distress.

What should you do if you have an acquired spinal injury?

Remember that there is help for you. Many medical advances have been made that could help you keep your muscle tone firm and protect you against respiratory issues. Additionally, with long-term treatments, occupational therapies and other assistance, it's possible to continue living a life you enjoy, even if it's different than the one you knew before you were in an accident.

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