Spinal Injuries Could End Your Career and Change Your Life

All it takes is a second for something to go wrong on the interstate. One moment, you’re traveling at high speeds, headed to work or a social call. Seconds later, thanks to the poor judgment of someone else, you’re reeling from an impact and trying to make sense of what happened. Traveling at high speeds can help us get where we’re headed quickly, but it can also result in more catastrophic injuries if a traffic collision does happen.

No matter how safe you are, you can’t control the actions of other drivers. Commercial truck drivers may find themselves exhausted but choose to stay on the road. People in personal vehicles could get distracted by cellphones, eating, messing with the radio, a conversation or even applying makeup.

The mistake of another driver could leave you seriously injured. Sometimes, accidents only result in scrapes or minor soft tissue damage. Other people aren’t so lucky. Neck, back and spinal injuries are common in high speed collisions, and much like brain injuries, they can completely change your life.

There is a broad spectrum of spinal injuries

Not everyone who has a spinal injury ends up permanently paralyzed. The location and extent of the damage can result in very different symptoms and issues from person to person. Some people may have immediate symptoms due to penetrating trauma, while others develop issues as swelling increases in the hours and days following an accident.

Incomplete spinal injuries occur when the spinal cord gets pinched, constricted or partially cut. This can reduce physical sensation in areas below the injury, as well as motor function. Complete spinal injuries typically involve total severing of the spinal cord, which results in a total loss of motor function below the point of injury. This can result in paralysis or even loss of use of all four limbs in cases where the spinal injury is in the neck.

Spinal injuries can happen a number of ways

When people think of spinal injuries, they may imagine people who get thrown from vehicles. While that does happen, there are other ways your spine can suffer damage in a collision. Glass, metal or other debris can penetrate your back, neck or side, resulting in damage to your nerves and spine. Rapid, jarring motions can cause pinching or similar issues to the spinal cord. Slamming into the windshield or steering wheel could also cause trauma to the spine.

Spinal injuries usually require extensive medical intervention. In the best case scenario, with surgery or physical therapy, victims may regain motor function and sensation in affected areas. In other cases, permanent loss of mobility can occur, leaving the victim in need of ongoing medical care and social support. Depending on the victim’s line of work, the injuries could also put an end to his or her career.

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