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Understanding Acute Spinal Cord Injury and Its Causes

The spinal cord is a long, thin tube of nerves that runs down the back from the brainstem to the lower back. It carries messages from the brain to the muscles, telling them to move, and sends impulses back to the brain. An acute spinal cord injury disrupts the normal messages between the brain and the body, often resulting in permanent changes in strength, sensation and bodily functions. It can also cause mental, emotional and behavioral effects.

Many spinal cord injuries are caused by traumatic events, such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries and acts of violence. These events can result in fractures, dislocations or compression of the spinal cord. 

Spinal cord injuries can also be non-traumatic, often resulting from diseases, infections, tumors or degenerative conditions. Health conditions like spinal stenosis, spina bifida or herniated discs can contribute to non-traumatic spinal cord injuries. Often these spinal conditions make a spinal cord injury from an accident worse. In that case, the law is that the at-fault party, the party causing the injury, is still responsible for the aggravation of the pre-existing spinal condition.

Certain factors may increase the likelihood of sustaining a spinal cord injury, including age, gender (men are more susceptible), engaging in risky activities and having a history of back injuries. As in the case of having a pre-existing condition, the law is favorable to injured victims in that it allows for recovery. Again, the defendant in the personal injury case is responsible to the “egg shell plaintiff” or “thin skull plaintiff,” including being responsible for the aggravation of the condition. 

The severity of a spinal cord injury depends on the location and extent of the damage. A complete spinal cord injury means that there is no sensation or voluntary movement below the level of the injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury means that some sensation or movement is preserved.

Symptoms of spinal cord injury can include any of the following:

  • Loss of movement or sensation
  • Extreme back pain or pressure
  • Weakness or poor coordination
  • Tingling or numbness in limbs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty breathing

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you need to seek diagnosis immediately. A spinal cord injury can be spotted through a CT (computed tomography) scan, which can detect neurological damage. A more thorough method is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which can detect injuries involving intervertebral discs, spinal ligaments and paraspinal soft tissues. 

There is no cure for acute spinal cord injuries, but certain treatments can help people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. These may include surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy and medication. The expenses associated with treatment and long-term care can be excessive and even prohibitive without adequate healthcare coverage. An attorney experienced with spinal cord injuries can analyze your case and determine whether you have the right to recover financial compensation. 

At Feinberg & Alban PC, we are relentless advocates for people who have suffered spinal cord injuries in the Greater Boston area. Call us at 617-232-5950 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation.

Feinberg & Alban, P.C. fervently protects your rights
  • The Boston firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. specializes its practice in the area of personal injury.

    The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.

  • $7.7 Million Award for Feinberg & Alban Client in Personal Injury Trial

    Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.

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    Attorney Colleen Santora was amazing! I was hit by a car, completely overwhelmed and really just needed to focus on getting better. Retaining her, truly gave me peace of mind that all of the upcoming medical bills would be taken care of. I healed ...

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    While visiting boston, my husband was injured and required surgery, and the tribulations that followed. Living out of state, we had NO idea what to do, and we needed guidance. Collen and her team were and ARE a God sent. Colleen answered all of ...

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    I worked with Colleen Santora and had a great experience! I was very overwhelmed after my injury (MBTA at fault) and she made the process clear and easy. She always answered any questions I had and answered my emails within minutes every time. She al...

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    On vacation my mother had an accident in the Boston Airport that required surgery and prolonged physical therapy. It was a long, painful and extremely stressful process. My mother felt hopeless and her chronic pain was debilitating. My mother finally...

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    Robert Feinberg was an absolute delight to work with. My car accident was a horrific experience. Robert and his team secured the top dollar settlement possible for my case. It was a great decision to work with his team, from the very first com...

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