After a serious accident, you may not realize the extent of your injuries right away. Of course, some injuries are obvious, but in other cases, people are in a state of shock or disorientation after an accident and may not even seek medical attention until several hours, or even days, later.
Some serious injuries take time to develop, and the sooner you seek medical care, the better your chances are for keeping the damage to a minimum. Spinal cord injuries are a perfect example. Here are five signs you have suffered a severe spinal cord injury:
- Loss of movement – This may seem obvious, but paralysis does not always happen immediately. It could develop gradually due to swelling or bleeding around the spinal cord. Have any numbness or paralysis checked out immediately.
- Severe pain – If you feel pressure or pain in your head, neck or back, you could be dealing with a spinal cord injury.
- Weakness, numbness and tingling – These are all signs that your spinal cord may be suffering from a disconnect. You may also suffer from a loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Difficulty breathing – You may suddenly find you cannot breathe, cough or clear your lungs completely after your injury.
- Problems with balance and coordination – You may have trouble walking and balancing, as well as issues with coordination in your hands and feet. You may also have limited sensation, such as with hot and cold.
If you lose all feeling and control over your movement below the point of injury on your spine, you have a “complete” injury. If you still have some feeling and control, your injury is “incomplete.”
There are no minor spinal cord injuries
Although there are different levels of severity and paralysis for spinal cord injuries, every injury involving your spinal cord is serious and should be treated immediately. If you were in an accident that may have injured your neck, head or back, err on the side of your health and visit your doctor.