A serious accident, such as a car wreck, can cause equally serious injuries. Injuries to the spinal cord can be particularly severe, as they can cause lifelong effects, including paralysis. Receiving immediate medical attention after a spinal injury is of the utmost importance, especially if the following signs are present. 

Symptoms and signs of a spinal cord injury

While all spinal injuries should be assessed by a medical professional soon after they occur, some signs indicate significant damage. Weakness or paralysis in the extremities is a major issue, as is the sensation of numbness or tingling. In many cases, numbness can be felt in the hands, fingers, feet and toes. A person may also experience problems breathing, which should be assessed right away to determine whether a lung injury has occurred. 

Some effects may be obvious just by looking at the injured person. For example, a person’s back or neck may appear to be in an odd or abnormal position. The feeling of pain or pressure in the part of the body where the injury has taken place is also common. Bowel and bladder control may be impacted when a spinal injury is significant. 

What to do if you or someone else experiences a serious injury

While you should seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know experiences any of the above symptoms, taking the right steps when seeking assistance is equally important. The person with the suspected spinal cord injury should not be moved. Contact emergency personnel and wait for them to arrive before attempting to move the person. Do your best to keep the person calm and still in the meantime. The neck can be stabilized by a person’s hands or by taking heavy towels or blankets and positioning them on either side of the neck. Appropriate first aid care and speedy medical assistance are crucial to prevent more serious effects from occurring.