How Is Spinal Cord Injury Diagnosed?
Posted in Lawsuit on September 30, 2019
Spinal cord injuries are serious medical conditions that can occur from a number of different accidents, from slip and falls to falling off a roof or construction scaffolding. The symptoms and severity of these injuries can vary from person to person, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
If you believe that you have a spinal cord injury, visit a doctor as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to diagnose and prescribe treatment for your condition through a number of methods, including x-rays and observation.
When Should You Go to the Doctor After a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency. The longer you wait to receive treatment, the more devastating the effects may be. If you notice any of the following symptoms after an accident, visit an emergency room or call 911 as soon as possible.
- Loss of control in your bladder or bowels
- Numbness or a loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, toes, or feet
- Extreme pain or pressure in your head, back, or neck
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Weakness, paralysis, or difficulty with coordination anywhere in your body
- A twisted back or neck
The First Steps to Diagnosis
As soon as you visit the emergency room after suffering a spinal cord injury, the medical team’s first priority is to stabilize you. They will make sure you are able to breathe and take steps to prevent you from going into shock. They may put you into a neck collar or backboard to immobilize you, which helps prevent further complications.
In addition, your medical team will take steps to prevent additional medical emergencies. They will make sure you do not form any life-threatening blood clots and monitor your heart rate to ensure you are breathing properly. After stabilization, you will enter initial treatment and diagnosis.
Diagnosing a Spinal Cord Injury
Immediately after stabilization, the medical team will begin performing initial treatment and diagnosis. They may use any of the following tools to determine where the spinal cord injury is and what areas of the body the injury is impacting.
- X-rays to review any tumors, fractures, or issues with your spinal column.
- CT scans to provide a more in-depth look into your body to determine if you have any issues with your bones or disks.
- MRIs to get a clear picture of the spinal cord and see if you have any blood clots, masses, or hernias that could be causing your injury.
Once swelling subsides after a few days, your medical team may conduct further tests to diagnose your spinal cord injury. They may test your muscle strength and ability to feel certain sensations. Once the team determines the extent of your injury, you can receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Initial and Ongoing Treatment
Once you enter the intensive care unit and the medical team diagnoses your injury, you will begin initial treatments. These may involve any combination of medication, corrective surgery, or immobilization. The medical team may ask for your permission to provide experimental treatments to stabilize and reduce the impact of the injury.
After receiving your initial treatment, the medical team will use your diagnosis to create a comprehensive care plan. Your recovery and rehabilitation plan may include any of the following components.
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Additional surgeries
- Psychological counseling
- Adapting to mobility equipment and home accommodations
If you receive a diagnosis for a spinal cord injury after an accident you did not cause, you may have to face expensive medical bills and treatment costs you were not prepared for. You may also have to spend time out of work while in recovery and during rehabilitative treatments.
While a spinal cord injury may harm you physically, emotionally, and financially, you can recover compensation for these damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Speak to your attorney to determine whether you qualify and what your next steps should be.