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Spinal injuries: What you should know about complete injuries

When you got into a car accident, it was the last thing you were expecting that day. In fact, you'd had an amazing day, so when you saw the other vehicle heading toward you, you were in absolute shock. Although you attempted to get out of the way, there was no real place to go, and the vehicle struck yours nearly head-on.

When you woke up, you were surprised to find that it was several days later. You had been in a medically induced coma, because you were so badly hurt that the surgeon on your case believed it was the best option.

Fortunately, you woke up without any noticeable brain trauma after the car crash, but your spine was a completely different story. They told you that you had a complete injury, which means that you're paralyzed.

Understand your complete spinal injury

Complete spinal injuries are the most serious. They occur when the spinal cord is damaged and puts pressure on the spinal cord. Sometimes, the spinal cord is completely cut or compressed to a point where it can no longer deliver information to the section of the body below that point of injury.

The location of your injury dictates how you'll be affected by a spinal cord injury. Injuries low on the spinal cord may lead to the loss of function in your legs but little else, for example, while a neck injury could lead to paralysis from your neck down and include organ involvement.

When a spinal injury is called "complete," it means that there is no motor or sensory function below the point of injury. If you have any kind of sensation or function, then you have an incomplete spinal injury.

What should you do if you have a complete spinal injury?

If you do have a complete spinal injury, the likelihood is that you will need ongoing medical care. You may need rehabilitation therapy, medical support, new medical devices and other support.

It is important for you to hold those who are responsible for your collision accountable for the injuries that you've been left with. Spinal cord injuries can be extremely expensive to care for. Depending on the extent of your injury, the first year may cost over a million dollars in medical care. Over the course of your life, you could see medical costs into the millions of dollars, regardless of the kind of injury you've suffered. This is why it's important to hold the other party responsible and to make a claim.

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