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The complex process of recovering from a spinal cord injury

Major travel routes throughout North Carolina accommodate thousands of big trucks every day. These commercial vehicles are 30 to 40 times heavier than a sedan when loaded. Injuries sustained in a collision with tractor-trailers often have devastating, life-altering consequences.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, approximately 17,000 spinal cord injuries occur yearly. The majority sustained in a car accident result from trauma to the vertebral column, affecting autonomic functions below the injury site.

Determining damage

The precise stages and timeline for recovery from a spinal cord injury depend on the severity of the damage. People with incomplete SCIs have a better chance of full recovery because the body can still receive signals from the brain. Complete injuries prevent nerve signals from traveling along the spinal cord. Your physician may use a CT scan or MRI when determining the extent of the damage and next steps.

Stages of recovery

The days and weeks following the injury are the most critical. The first stage typically includes time in a hospital's critical care unit and surgery. Stage two includes physical or occupational therapy and possibly counseling. Depending on the damage, you may require rehabilitation sessions for several years.

The majority of recovery happens in the months immediately following the crash. However, a person might recover additional bodily functions up to 18 months after the injury. Long-term treatment is complex and may include the assistance of a full-time caregiver. Secondary health issues include respiratory infections, muscle spasms and pressure ulcers.

Did you or a loved one suffer spinal cord injuries due to someone else's negligence? Compensation from a claim might help recover lost wages and pay for mounting medical bills.

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