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Are spinal cord injury symptoms hard to detect?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) often cause enormous quality-of-life impacts on those suffering from them. However, despite these lasting issues, the signs may not always emerge clearly from the start.

This is why it is important for anyone who goes through a car crash to get proper medical care afterward. Otherwise, issues like SCI may end up going undiagnosed.

The symptoms of an SCI

The Shepherd Center discusses two forms of SCI: incomplete and complete. With an incomplete SCI, some ability to move or feel the area below the injury will remain intact. With a complete SCI, the victim will lose their ability to move or feel this area.

As an example, a complete SCI of the upper spine may cause paralysis of both the arms and legs. Injury to the lower spine might result in paralysis from the waist down.

Even in these cases, the initial symptoms may just include digestive problems, difficulty breathing or pain.

Potential diagnostic tools

It is important to seek medical care after getting into a crash because of these symptoms. There is often no easier, faster or more accurate method of finding if someone has an SCI than through imaging tools.

Diagnostic tests like CT scans will help doctors pinpoint the location and type of injury faced. Other tools like a myelogram may also come in handy.

Doctors use these tools to decide on a path of medical care for the victim. Though no cure for SCIs currently exists, neural prosthetic devices and rehabilitation can help a victim return to some of their capabilities from before the injury. Technology in the field is also progressing all the time, so the prognosis is not as dire as it once was.