Important things to know about cervical spine injuries

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Personal Injury |

The cervical spine is the upper part of the spine in the neck and connecting to the base of the skull. Injuries affecting this part of the body can stem from serious motor vehicle crashes, falls and other traumatic incidents.

Injuries to the cervical spine are often catastrophic injuries because they can affect the entire body below the level of the injury. These injuries often lead to quadriplegia, which is the paralysis of all four limbs. Other areas of the body, including internal organs, can also be affected.

Physical effects

Cervical spine injuries can cause considerable effects on the victim’s body. Minor injuries can cause pain, stiffness and a reduced range of motion. More extensive injuries, such as fractures, can lead to serious pain and extreme limitations of movement. An injury to the cervical spine often necessitates the use of a ventilator for breathing assistance. Injuries may result in varying degrees of paralysis. There might be some arm and hand movement remaining.

Mental and emotional impacts

Beyond the physical effects, cervical spine injuries profoundly affect the victim’s mental and emotional well-being. The sudden and often dramatic changes in physical abilities can lead to significant psychological stress. The victims may grapple with the loss of independence, which can come with feelings of frustration and a decrease in self-esteem.

Many victims experience anxiety, depression and feelings of helplessness as they adjust to their new reality. Physical therapy may help them to learn how to cope with their new abilities and limitations, which could help their mental state, especially if it’s coupled with mental health treatments.

Impact on daily life and work

Cervical spine injuries significantly impact daily life and work capabilities. Simple tasks, such as dressing, bathing and eating, can become challenging or impossible without assistance. For those with severe injuries, mobility aids like wheelchairs may be necessary, requiring adaptations in the home and workplace. Vocational rehabilitation programs can help some individuals retrain for new types of work, though this process is often lengthy and challenging.

Victims of spinal cord injuries need extensive medical care. If their injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, it might be possible to seek compensation from the liable party.

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