Spinal injuries are some of the most serious and potentially life-altering consequences of an accident. Sometimes these injuries are difficult to identify until symptoms become severe. Recognizing the signs of a spinal injury as soon as possible can help you seek early intervention and treatment, potentially reducing your risk of complications.
There are a few common signs of spinal injuries that you should watch for.
1. Severe pain or discomfort
One of the most significant signs of a spinal injury is severe pain or discomfort in the neck, back or along the spine. This pain can vary in intensity and may radiate down the arms or legs. It is essential to pay attention to any persistent pain, especially after an accident, as it could be indicative of damage to the spinal cord or surrounding structures.
2. Lost sensation
A noticeable loss of sensation in the extremities, such as numbness or tingling, can be a significant red flag. If you experience a sudden loss of feeling in your arms, legs, fingers or toes, it may be a sign of spinal injury.
3. Muscle weakness
Muscle weakness is another indication of potential spinal injuries. It can be challenging to move your arms or perform regular daily activities. Any sudden or unexplained loss of strength in your muscles could indicate spinal cord compression or damage.
4. Respiratory issues
Spinal injuries affecting the upper part of the spine can affect your diaphragm and respiratory muscles. If you notice any difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or persistent cough after an accident, you might have a spinal injury that needs attention.
An estimated 294,000 people live with a spinal cord injury in the United States. Recognizing the signs of a potential spinal injury is crucial for everyone’s safety. If you were in an accident, seek medical attention right away if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.