Would you know what to do if you suffered a back injury in a fall, in a car crash, in a sporting event or from a violent act? As you lay on the ground or floor or sit in your vehicle, your first inclination may be to try to move. That may only worsen any injury you suffered to your spinal cord.
Instead, you may want to remain still and wait for help from emergency medical personnel. What happens in the first hours after such an injury could make the difference between a full recovery and never walking again.
Assessing yourself at the scene of the accident
In those first few minutes after the accident, you may want to conduct a self-assessment for the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme pain in your back, neck or head
- Lying in an odd position
- Weakness or loss of coordination anywhere
- Inability to move any body part
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
If you do move, if you lose your balance or have trouble walking, you may still have suffered a spinal cord injury.
Other symptoms of a spinal cord injury
You may also experience the following symptoms either at the scene or in the hours after the accident:
- Inability to feel touch, heat or cold
- Inability to move
- Stinging or pain due to nerve damage
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Difficulty coughing or clearing your lungs
You may also notice changes in your sexual sensations or function. If you walked away from your accident, but experience these or the other symptoms listed above, getting to a doctor immediately is crucial. The longer you wait, the more damage you may cause to your spinal cord. Many people think that since they were able to move, that they won't suffer paralysis, but swelling and bleeding afterward could lead to gradual paralysis.
Did the actions of someone else cause your injury?
If you find yourself lying in a hospital bed with a spinal cord injury due to the actions of another person, you may be entitled to compensation to cover you medical costs, lost income and other damages. However, you need to focus on your recovery and may not be up to pursuing a settlement or lawsuit. Fortunately, you may take advantage of the available legal resources here in San Antonio.
With a legal advocate on your side, you may receive much needed financial support as you recover or adjust to your new circumstances, whether they are temporary or permanent.