Before suffering from a spinal cord injury (SCI), you may have assumed that people who experience paralysis as a result do not feel pain below the site of the injury.
You may already know now that isn't always true. You can still experience pain that requires medical attention. While you may need care for other issues regarding your condition, managing your pain becomes a priority for you.
You could experience musculoskeletal pain
Your bones, joints and muscles could cause you significant pain. Many people suffering from SCI experience wear and tear, arthritis, and strain or overuse. The following are also very common for those with spinal cord injuries:
- You could experience back and neck pain, especially if certain vertebrae are fused. Upper and lower back support may help.
- Shoulder pain is common, especially if you use a manual wheelchair. Physical therapy can help you keep the front shoulder muscles limber and strengthen the associated back muscles.
- Even below the injury site, you can experience pain. It is ordinarily isolated to one spot, but it can still be intense nonetheless.
You may need medication, physical therapy or other medical intervention in order to help with this type of pain. The fix may be as simple as changing out your wheelchair.
You could experience neuropathic pain
Neuropathic pain results from the misfiring of the nerves damaged in your accident. This pain exists below the injury site. It could take some time for your doctor to locate the cause of this type of pain, if at all. The most common types of this pain include the following:
- Radicular pain caused by nerve root damage due to inflammation, broken pieces of bone or dislocated disc material. Anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal medications often help alleviate this type of pain.
- Pain in your torso or arms in a "bank-like" pattern. You may need surgery in addition to medications to resolve this pain.
- Central or diffuse pain below your injury site as well as in numerous places throughout your body. This could require medication unless you decide to take a holistic approach to its management.
A wide range of treatments exist for this type of pain and finding the right one for you may take some time, along with some trial and error.
You could experience visceral pain
As you can imagine, identifying gastrointestinal issues in a patient suffering from SCI presents a challenge. Your symptoms often do not follow the normal pattern and can require a bit of investigative work on the part of your doctor to figure out what ails you. It could be something as simple as constipation to something more complex such as appendicitis.
Regardless of what type of pain it is, you need to keep your doctor informed so that what you may consider a minor inconvenience does not turn out to be something more dangerous to your health.
You could pursue compensation
Managing your pain alone often comes with substantial medical costs. Even after you adjust to your new life and begin to get out and work again, you will likely always need some form of care. If your accident resulted from the recklessness or negligence of someone else, you may pursue the compensation you need and deserve through the Texas civil court system. Talk with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your legal options.