Missouri Thoracolumbar Spinal Injury Lawyer
Thoracolumbar Spinal Injury
A thoracolumbar spinal injury (area spanning from the base of the neck to the tail bone) can be life-altering for many people. The back is a well supported structure and a lot of force is required to cause serious injury to the spine in this area; as a result, a spinal injury in this region is usually not an isolated injury, meaning the person probably has suffered multiple injuries in addition to this.
One of the most frequent causes of a thoracolumbar spinal injury is an auto accident in which the individual is wearing a lap seatbelt only. In this situation, the body is rapidly thrown forward and then snapped back as the car comes to an abrupt stop and the center or axis of movement is across the lower back since there is no restraint across the chest. However, even with a full restraint, with a high enough velocity, injury can still occur. In addition, when ejected from a moving vehicle or falling from a height, the impact of hitting the ground can be enough to fracture the spine and cause spinal cord injury.
In summary, some causes of spinal injuries to the back include:
- Motor vehicle accidents while wearing a lap seatbelt only
- Ejection from a motor vehicle
- Trucking collisions
- Motorcycle accidents
- High-velocity injuries
Symptoms of Spinal Injury
With an injury to the spinal cord, a temporary condition called spinal shock can occur – during the initial time frame following injury a person will usually have no feeling or use of their body below the level of the injury. With less severe injury, a person may present with pain and symptoms of weakness, lack of sensation, or possible paralysis on one or both sides below the level of injury.
With a vertebral fracture, many people may not have any symptoms other than some pain or tenderness in that region and in the setting of multiple injuries, it is frequently overlooked.
Treatment and Prognosis
Treatment of a vertebrae fracture, compression, or misalignment is surgery, typically involving fusion of one or more vertebrae with hardware (such as screws) or the use of metal rods to help stabilize the spine. While these people typically have a full recovery they may suffer from early onset arthritis due to the trauma to their back or a change in their gait, or how they walk, depending on what hardware was used to stabilize the spine. For those with a metal rod, you may develop a limp that over time can lead to issues with your hips and knees, such as arthritis or need for a joint replacement.
For a spinal injury, treatment can involve a wide range of procedures and steps to try to reverse any damage that has been done. A universal and immediate step in caring for someone with a possible thoracolumbar spinal injury is placement on a back board to help stabilize the spine. The goal is to hopefully prevent any more damage from being done. Another fairly rapid intervention is an emergent surgery to decompress the spinal cord if it is swollen for any reason; steroids, such as IV prednisone, can be given to try to help this process as well. Other minor treatment and care issues may include a special bed and frequent rotating from side to side to prevent bed sores while you are recovering or placement of a catheter in the bladder and frequent diaper changes since you may not have control of your bowel movements or your bladder. These are just a few of the many possible treatment and care issues that may be addressed depending on the severity of your injury.
The prognosis for someone with a spinal cord injury can cover a wide range, anywhere from complete recovery to paralysis of everything below the level of the injury. Most people regain some to most of the feeling and function of their body that they lost at the time of the injury. They may continue to have issues such as some weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs or other areas of the body that were affected by the injury. For those with the worst outcome, they will remain paralyzed with no feeling or function in the lower half of their body. These people will continue to suffer from medical problems the rest of their life, which may include but is not limited to bowel and/or bladder incontinence, bed sores, and infections.
Assistance Through a Difficult Process
Page Law is determined to provide effective legal representation to seriously injured clients. Our St. Louis spinal injury lawyers understand how important it is for accident victims to obtain compensation against negligent parties for medical costs, lost wages and other emotional damages. We can assist with your case – contact us today at (314) 322-8515.