Friday 13 May is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2022, which is an initiative organised by the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and other charities, which aims to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries and highlight the challenges that individuals with these types of injuries have to deal with on a daily basis.
This year’s awareness day is focusing on the everyday challenges that people with spinal cord injuries have to cope with and manage.
How you can get involved with Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2022?
The SIA is inviting their supporters and those in the spinal cord injured community to share their ‘everyday mountain’. To get involved with the awareness day, send out posts on social media, revealing your everyday mountains using the hashtag #EverydayMountains #SCIAD22 and tag SIA at @spinalinjuries (Twitter), @spinal_injuries (Instagram) and Spinal Injuries Association (Facebook and LinkedIn).
For further details on Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, click here.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury is severe damage to the tight group of cells and nerve roots in the spine that send and receive signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body. An injury can be caused by a direct impact on the spinal cord itself or from damage to the tissue and bones (vertebrae) surrounding the spinal cord column.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it can result in temporary or permanent changes in sensation, movement, strength and body functions.
A spinal cord injury can cause one or more symptoms, which may include:
- Loss of movement
- Altered or the loss of sensation, which includes the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
- Numbness, tingling, loss of or changes in sensation in the hands and feet
- Paralysis that might occur immediately or worsen over time as swelling and bleeding impacts the spinal cord
- Pain or pressure in the back, head or neck
- Issues moving any part of the body
- Unnatural positions of the spine or head
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Issues walking
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
- Changes in sexual function, sensitivity and fertility
How is a spinal cord injury treated?
The spinal cord injury will be treated differently depending on the location and seriousness of the injury, along with the age and history of the patient.
Most spinal cord injuries are treated immediately after an accident has occurred, e.g. a back brace to hold the back in place. Further treatment may include realigning the spine and/or surgery to remove any bone fragments or other objects that might place pressure on the spinal column.
Further rehabilitative care may be required, which could include treatment for any respiratory or circulatory issues, pain medication and learning new ways to manage bladder and/or bowel problems.
Delays in diagnosis or treatment
Delays in diagnosing and treating a spinal cord injury can lead to serious neurological symptoms and can lead to permanent disability.
Errors made during surgery could lead to damaged nerves, which can impact a person’s movement and feeling. Where cauda equina syndrome is not diagnosed or treated, patients can suffer permanent physical and neurological injuries. If a person has a broken vertebra or crushed disc and this is not diagnosed, it could lead to paralysis and mobility issues.
In such circumstances, a person may be able to bring a spinal cord injury claim as a result of the negligible medical diagnosis or treatment they have received.
How we can help
Matthew Olner is a Partner in our Medical Negligence team, which has been ranked in tier one by the independently researched publication, The Legal 500. The team are experienced in spinal cord negligence compensation claims and are business members of the SIA.
As spinal cord injuries are complex claims, it is vital to get specialist advice from solicitors who are experienced in dealing with these types of claims. At Nelsons, we have a strong track record of achieving substantial compensation for those who have sustained a spinal cord injury and understand the ongoing support and rehabilitation needs that are required after a spinal injury. We work closely with medical and rehabilitation teams to ensure that you or your loved one receive the support required.Contact us