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Common Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted by copeland on March 7, 2014


It's well known that spinal cord injuries can cause nerve and muscle damage that can significantly impair a victim's mobility and limb function. But more often than not, these injuries lead to additional health complications that take many patients by surprise.

Your central nervous system includes your brain and your spinal cord, which is made of soft tissue, nerve cells and groups of nerves called tracts – all surrounded by bones (vertebrae). These nerve tracts carry messages between your brain and various parts of your body. For instance, motor nerve tracts send signals that control muscle movement, while sensory nerve tracts communicate heat, cold, pressure, pain and limb position. When damage to the spinal cord affects nerve fibers passing through injured areas of the body, it can impair function of your corresponding muscles and nerves below the injury site.

Complications from spinal cord injuries may include:

  • Bowel and bladder control, which can boost your risk of urinary tract infections, kidney infections and bladder or kidney stones; 
  • Skin sensation, which can make you more susceptible to pressure sores; 
  • Circulatory problems including too low or too high blood pressure, swelling of your extremities and blood clots; 
  • Respiratory problems including reduced function of your abdominal and chest muscles, trouble breathing and heightened risk of pneumonia; 
  • Muscle tone problems, typically manifesting as either uncontrolled tightening or motion in the muscles, or soft, limp muscles that lack any real tone; 
  • Reduced sexual function, sensation or fertility; 
  • Chronic muscle, joint or nerve pain;
  • Limited mobility that can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes; 
  • Depression, as coping with chronic pain and the loss of the ability to continue doing all the day-to-day activities that you once enjoyed.

The health consequences of spinal cord injuries are even tougher to take when you consider that most the result of avoidable or deliberate incidents such as car accidents, fights or failure to adequately protect oneself while playing sports. If you or your dependent suffer such an injury due to someone else's negligent or violent act, get medical attention immediately. Then, schedule a consultation with an experienced spine injury attorney with Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates. Call 407-999-8995 in Orlando or 407-847-7277 in Kissimmee.