Whether you’re the driver, passenger, or pedestrian, there is an apparent risk of getting a Spinal Cord Injury when you’re on the road. This is because car accidents are among the leading causes of SCI according to a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke report. The horrible effects of spinal cord injury is something that you should take seriously.
By the end of this blog, we hope that readers will understand that the debilitating impacts of a severed spine are more than just physical. It affects everything — one’s mental health, relationships, functionality, and many other things.
The readers will also learn about the options a person affected by SCI has in rehabilitating themselves, as well as how they can cope with their disability.
First, let’s delve into the obvious effect of SCI: the physical.
Effects of Spinal Cord Injury
Physical Effects of SCI
If you are injured in the spine, you will very likely have to wade through significant difficulties with your mobility. Your spine is the bridge connecting your brain and your body. If damaged, it’ll be extremely hard for neurotransmitters to signal certain body parts to move. This effectively reduces the functionality of muscles below the injury site, leading to their atrophy and weakness. Those affected by a spinal cord injury will most likely feel some muscle spasticity (muscle stiffness) and spasms.
The physical effects of a severed spinal cord are dependent on how bad the injury is. Spinal cord injuries are usually classified as complete or incomplete. Complete SCIs completely block neurotransmitters from signaling body parts below the site of injury. Incomplete SCIs, on the other hand, are only slightly severed, so the body may receive some signals and still be able to move in limited capacity.
Regardless of how severed the spine is, those affected by a slight transection in the spinal cord will still experience extreme difficulty in moving their body. This poses some functional limitations on their lives.
Functional Effects of SCI
The impacts of Spinal Cord Injury transcend past physical. It also has some functional effects that could affect the quality of life of those living with this injury. For one, their daily routine will drastically change as the limitations imposed on their mobility could affect how they perform certain activities. For example, an athletic person recently affected by SCI will no longer be able to partake in strenuous physical activities due to their condition.
People with severed spine may also need some assistive device to help them with daily tasks. But being dependent on a wheelchair all of the sudden, while helpful, still limits mobility and functionality for a lot of newly disabled folks.
The reality of this will usually hit them as they try to get into buildings where disability accommodations (ie: wheelchair ramps) are not in place, effectively barring them entrance from certain places. This lack of accessibility is also coupled by a significant reduction of opportunities that able-bodied people would have less difficulties acquiring.
SCI and Its Effects On Mental Health
The disparity on how people with SCI are treated in contrast to their able-bodied peers may likely affect their mental health, and this is supported by a study done by medical researchers at the University of Michigan. According to them, people with spinal cord injury are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than those without a severed spine —59% compared to the latter’s 30.9%. For this reason, mental health outcomes of those with SCI need to be taken seriously. Here are some emotional and psychological impacts of a spinal transection:
- Emotional Distress: Because of the life-altering nature of SCI, those affected may experience emotional distress from the limits imposed on their mobility. They won’t be able to do a lot of things they could have normally done. Physically active people affected by this injury, specifically, may feel the emotional brunt of a severed spine more than those who are not.
- Self Esteem Issues: A lot of our self-worth are hinged on things we excel at — whether it be our talent, skill, looks, etc. Getting injured in the spine affects all of those things. People with SCI experience physical changes, and how they interact with the world also changes with it.
- Personal Relationships: The relationship we have with ourselves and how we deal with a drastic adjustment will affect our personal relationships — familial, platonic, romantic, etc. There will be a tendency to isolate ourselves from our loved ones. At times, we will probably be more irritable towards them. People affected by a sever in their spine are privy to how their disabilities have transformed their personal relationships with everyone around them.
Spinal Cord Injury Recovery
Extensive research on stem cells and the spine are being done to uncover techniques for full recovery. But as of now, a spinal transection is irreversible. There are however ways you can treat and cope with the injury.
If you get SCI, you will experience some stiffness in your muscles. A physical therapist can guide you through several exercises to help alleviate those problems. You can also work with them to discuss fitness goals. In addition, keep in mind that since you will have limited access to your muscles, they will inevitably atrophy and weaken. A physical therapist can help you work through that.
Psychological Counseling and Mental Health Support
Self-esteem and mental health issues may abound when you get injured in the spine. It is extremely important that you work on maintaining your mental wellness and not just your physical wellness.
Peer Support and Community Involvement
Support from your family as well as your community is also important in your recovery if you get injured in the spine. If you feel alone and need to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through, seek out support groups and a community of people affected by spinal cord injury.
Call Omega Law Group
The tragic part of it all is that your efforts to drive as safely as you can may be offset by the fact that several drivers are driving aggressively on the road. Getting Spinal Cord Injury is unfortunately an all too common effect of various car accidents, especially if many reckless drivers are alongside you. The negative repercussions of SCI demand for justice to be served. For that to happen, you need to have the award-winning spinal cord injury attorneys of Omega Law on your side.
The highly-skilled and empathetic legal team of Omega Law Group have been featured in prestigious publications like Los Angeles Business Journal and Los Angeles Times for their excellent work in personal injury. In the years they’ve operated, helping the voiceless against greedy insurance companies and their reckless insured, the firm has acquired over millions of dollars in settlement compensation.
Quality legal service shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. At Omega Law Group, we believe that everyone, regardless of their financial circumstances, needs to get the justice that they deserve. To bridge this financial gap, the firm operates at a contingency-fee basis, meaning that our clients don’t have to pay for legal services upfront.
Schedule a free consultation with our elite attorneys now to learn more!