Most spinal cord injuries result from a sudden, violent blow that dislocates or fractures the vertebrae.
The spinal cord is extremely sensitive to injury, and, if damaged, cannot repair itself. But recent advancements in research give hope for recovery.
About the spinal cord
The spinal cord is a column of nerves responsible for carrying impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. If injury disrupts that task, the victim could experience symptoms such as loss of mobility, paralysis, pain, breathing difficulties and an altered ability to feel heat and cold. The violent impact of a car crash is often the cause of a spinal cord injury (SCI).
Symptoms are not always evident at the time of the accident. A doctor will perform a physical examination of the accident victim and order a series of x-rays and other tests to show the location of an injury. Currently, there is no way to reverse the damage to the spine. Still, medications and prostheses can improve nerve function and help patients to return to an active life.
Hope for a cure
A team of Swiss researchers developed an electrical implant that has enabled paralyzed patients to walk again. The first person to receive the implant suffered a motorcycle crash that severed his spinal cord. The neurosurgeon who inserted the experimental device was amazed and gratified by the patient’s swift recovery.
A look ahead
Currently, a car crash victim who experiences SCI can rely on an advocate to help negotiate maximum insurance compensation to cover his or her medical expenses, lost wages and more. The experimental implant is in the early stages of testing. However, the researchers believe there is now hope for recovery for those who sustain a spinal cord injury.