The Findings That Raise Suspicion of A Spinal Cord Injury

May 22, 2024 | Spinal Cord Injuries

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of spinal cord trauma can be challenging. Yes, in some cases, individuals know immediately that some type of severe trauma has occurred. However, the signs and symptoms of some spinal cord injuries may not be obvious right away.

Most Obvious Signs of a Spinal Cord Injury

Some spinal cord injury signs and symptoms are obvious. The most common symptoms a spinal cord injury victims will notice include:

  • Loss of movement. An inability to move the arms or legs may be a clear indicator of a spinal cord injury, particularly if it occurs immediately after an incident.
  • Alteration in sensation. This includes the inability to feel heat, cold, and touch, which can signify nerve damage in the spinal cord.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control. This change can indicate that the nerves controlling these bodily functions may be compromised.
  • Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms. Changes in reflex movements can be a sign of dysfunction in the spinal cord.
  • Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility. These symptoms can manifest depending on the area of the spine that is injured.
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing secretions from your lungs. A high spinal injury may affect the abdominal and chest muscles that control breathing.

More Subtle Signs a Spinal Cord Injury May Have Occurred

Not all spinal cord injury signs and symptoms will be obvious. There may be more subtle signs that indicate spinal cord trauma has occurred. These can include:

  • Nerve pain. Sharp, stinging pain can suggest that the spinal cord has experienced trauma.
  • Pressure in the head, neck, or back. An unusual pressure sensation in these areas might be a precursor to or a symptom of a spinal injury.
  • Twisted neck or back. Physical deformity in the neck or back area could be a visible clue to a spinal cord injury.
  • Impaired balance and walking. Difficulty with coordination and balance can indicate that the spinal cord pathways are compromised.
  • Numbness or paralysis in any part of the body. Sudden changes in the ability to move or feel are red flags for spinal injuries.

Steps To Take Immediately

If you suspect a spinal cord injury, please take steps to seek medical care immediately. Preventing further spinal cord trauma is the goal, and doing so requires prompt intervention. If you or somebody you love suspects a spinal cord injury, the following steps can help:

  1. Do not move the injured person. Moving someone with a suspected spinal injury could potentially cause further harm.
  2. Call emergency services immediately. Immediate medical attention is crucial.
  3. Keep the person still. Place heavy towels or light blankets on both sides of the victim’s neck or hold the head and neck with your hands to prevent movement.
  4. Provide basic first aid. If the person is not breathing, begin CPR, but only if you are trained and confident in your ability to do so without moving the person’s head or neck.
  5. Keep the person warm and calm. Comfort them by speaking reassuringly and covering them with a blanket to maintain body heat until emergency personnel arrive.

After the emergency situation has subsided, we encourage you to contact an Austin spinal cord injury attorney if the injury was caused by the negligent actions of another individual or entity. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and other losses associated with the injury.