As a spine injury attorney in California, I know that damage to the spinal cord or surrounding nerves can be one of the most severe and debilitating types of bodily harm. Each year in the Golden State, many people receive spinal cord injuries due to different types of trauma. These injury types may be especially catastrophic, leaving those who suffer from them with potentially lifelong disabilities or paralysis in severe cases. There are several different types of treatment that may be available, depending on the severity of the damage.
Causes of Spine Injuries
While all sorts of trauma can result in spinal damage, the most common causes include motor vehicle accidents and falls. When a person has been seriously injured in an accident or a fall due to the negligence of another person, an attorney in Los Angeles who accepts such cases may be able to help. First, though, it is important for injured people to first seek medical treatment following a traumatic accident, as early intervention may lessen damage that may otherwise be permanent.
When a person has been in an accident that causes this type of damage, there are multiple symptoms they may experience. In some cases, people may experience pain that radiates down from the lower spine through to the foot. This is called radiculopathy and is caused by the nerve being pinched by a disc in the lower back. Radiculopathy is not limited to the nerves that run down the length of the legs, however. It also can occur in nerves running down the arms or to other parts of the body. This symptom often results when a disc is herniated or is bulging following an accident or fall.
Other symptoms that could indicate a person has experienced this type of injury include such things as difficulty walking or a loss of the ability to move the legs or arms. People may also lose their ability to control their bowels or feel a spreading numbness or tingling sensation. If the damage is located in the cervical area of the vertebral column, people may experience headaches due to the nerves that run from that area to innervate the head. Along with headaches, the person may also suffer from stiffness or pain in the neck. Finally, a person may also experience a loss of consciousness immediately following the accident.
Treatments for Spinal Injury
Immediate medical treatment is important in these types of cases. The doctor will have several treatment options that they may use, depending on the severity level. These may include physical therapy, epidural injections or surgical interventions.
1. Physical therapy
Physical therapy may be used alone or together with multiple treatments, depending on how severe the symptoms are. If the trauma resulted in bulging or herniated discs, the therapy may be concentrated on reducing the pain and swelling through strengthening exercises for the extremities. For people who have suffered paraplegia or quadriplegia, the physical therapy may be ongoing to maintain muscle tone and to prevent stiffness. Those who have suffered traumatic spinal cord injuries may expect ongoing physical therapy to help improve mobility, especially in the lower extremities.
2. Epidural injections
When a person suffers nerve irritation, especially due to herniated or bulging discs, a very common treatment doctors often use is an epidural steroid injection. In these cases, the person will see the doctor multiple times to receive the injections in the area where the damage is located. The doctor uses the needle to penetrate into the epidural space around the irritated nerve to inject the steroid. This treatment is often used for the treatment of radiculopathy in the lower extremities or cervical compressions in the neck.
3. Surgical options
Immediately following the accident, doctors will immobilize the injured person to prevent them from moving and causing further damage. In many cases, surgical intervention may then be necessary, especially if fractures have happened and bone fragments are pressing against the nerves or spinal cord. Surgery may also be performed to stabilize the vertebral column around the damaged spinal cord area. Surgical options are also sometimes used for people who have bulging or herniated discs for which the epidural steroid injections have failed to provide relief.
The Need for a Quality CA Spinal Injury Lawyer In the Event of Back Damage Caused by Negligence or Wrongdoing
If you or a loved one has suffered from spinal cord injuries in a fall or accident due to the negligence of another driver or property owner, you may want to consider filing a civil lawsuit in order to seek recovery of the economic (present and future medical expenses, lost income, etc.) and non-economic damages (physical pain and emotional suffering) incurred as a result. As these cases may be very fact-specific, it is important to seek legal help in Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire or anywhere in CA. A lawyer may be better able to value your case and negotiate for the maximum settlement. If you have suffered such an accident caused by the negligence of another, contact a California spinal cord injury attorney for help – Call our 24 hour 7 day a week injury helpline at 866-966-5240!