Understanding the Prognosis of a Spinal Cord Injury
Unfortunately, spinal cord damage cannot be reversed. In some milder spinal cord injury cases, victims can undergo surgery, physical therapy, and other treatments to help them get back to the life they lived before. However, in cases where a spinal cord injury is severe, and a person is faced with extreme physical, emotional, and psychological burdens, it can mean a long and painful road with minimal recovery and permanent changes to a person’s life. Here’s what you need to know about the prognosis of severe spinal cord injuries.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the following are some concerning statistics relating to spinal cord injuries in the United States:
- There are approximately 17,900 new spinal cord injury cases each year.
- Roughly 296,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury today.
- The average age at injury has gone from 29 years during the 1970s to 43 since 2015.
- About 78% of new spinal cord injury cases have involved males since 2015.
- Traffic accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, followed by:
- Acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds).
- Sports/recreation activities.
Since 2015, incomplete tetraplegia (weakness or paralysis of all four limbs) has been the most common type of paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury. It accounted for 47.4% of total cases at the time of hospital discharge, followed by:
- Complete paraplegia (no motor control of feeling below the level of injury):19.9% of total cases at the time of hospital discharge.
- Incomplete paraplegia (some degree of feeling or movement below the level of injury): 19.7% of total cases at the time of hospital discharge.
- Complete tetraplegia (paralysis of all four limbs):12.4% of total cases at the time of hospital discharge.
Less than 1% (0.6%) of persons had complete neurological recovery at the time of hospital discharge after a spinal cord injury.
What to Expect From the Recovery Process
The recovery process depends on the severity of the spinal cord injury. In the most severe cases, someone with a spinal cord injury may need the following treatments or therapies and require lifelong care:
- Immobilization (traction to stabilize and align the spine)
- Rehabilitation (physical therapy, occupational therapy)
- Use of medical devices (wheelchairs, hospital beds, transfer boards, lifts, etc.)
People living with a spinal cord injury may also have emotional and psychological challenges when it comes to dealing with their new life. They may experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and may need psychotherapy and other counseling to help them work through and adjust to their new situation.
How to Get Help After Sustaining a Severe Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are one of the most devastating injuries that someone can sustain. We understand that living with a spinal cord injury is life-altering. Not only do spinal cord injury victims face physical limitations and pain, but the injury can also pose emotional and psychological burdens on victims and their families. If you or a loved one have suffered a severe spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another party, our team is ready to fight for the compensation you are entitled to receive.
Talk to our team today by filling out this short form or call us at (505) 405-4441. Consultations are free.