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Secondary injuries often accompany spinal cord injuries

With spinal cord injuries, much of the focus is on rehabilitation that can help restore function. Medical professionals call this one of their greatest challenges, and full restoration is not always possible, so this emphasis does make sense.

However, it's worth noting that there are often serious secondary injuries that also have to be addressed. After all, for those involved in a car accident that is bad enough to sever a spinal cord, the odds are incredibly high that they'll suffer numerous other injuries in the crash.

Blood flow is critical. Many injuries decrease the amount of blood that gets to the injury site. This can kill surrounding tissue and leads to overall cell death.

There can be serious inflammation at the site. This can also impact blood flow, it can put pressure on surrounding tissues, and it can lead to many related conditions.

These two critical issues don't even consider other injuries from the crash itself. Were there lacerations near the break in the spinal cord where metal or glass slammed against the person's body? Even if there aren't lacerations, were there crushing injuries that damaged interior tissues, perhaps even leading to internal bleeding?

All of these things are important because medical studies have indicated that breaking this chain of events can help with overall spinal cord recovery. If drugs can reduce inflammation and assist with blood flow right after the injury, for example, that could pay dividends with spinal cord healing months down the line.

As you can see, this can be a long and expensive process that can have a drastic impact on the rest of your life. You may want to look into your rights to financial compensation to cover these costs and life changes.

Source: Brain Facts, "Recovering From Spinal Cord Injuries," accessed Aug. 24, 2017

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