16 May, 2016
What is a spinal injury?
Spinal injuries can vary in severity, ranging from more minor cases such as whiplash injuries to more serious cases resulting in paralysis. The spine is fragile, and any damage to it can lead to excruciating pain through to complete loss of ability and independence.
There are two types of spinal cord injury: incomplete and complete. Those who suffer from incomplete injuries may still have some movement and/or sensation below the injury, or it may only affect half of the body.
Complete injury is when the spinal cord is so damaged that there is no function below the injury. Whatever the extent of your injury, if it wasn’t your fault then you may have a claim, and we are here to help.
What causes spinal injuries?
There are many causes of spinal injuries, which include:
- Accidents at work;
- Road traffic accidents (which also includes more minor cases like whiplash);
- Falling from a height;
- Lifting from or working at a high can increase the risk of spinal injury.
Extreme cases could result in you being unable to work, or even walk again. This could of course result in a loss of earnings, and/or independence, both of which would entitle you to compensation.
Who is more likely to suffer from a spinal injury?
According to Spinal Research, around 1,000 people suffer spinal injuries in the UK and Ireland each year, and around 80% of those injuries are male, and mainly young adults, although such injuries can happen to anyone.
Spinal injuries also occur frequently in the elderly, for whom it is much harder to recover.
In the UK and Ireland around 50,000 people are living with paralysis, and supporting and rehabilitating all of them costs in the region of £1bn per year. Currently no effective treatments for a full recovery exist.
What are the symptoms of spinal injury?
Symptoms of spinal injury include but are not limited to:
- Loss of ability to move legs and arms;
- Tingling or numbness feelings in extremities;
- Difficulties walking, or inability to walk;
- No control in the bowels or bladder;
- Stiffness, pain or pressure (or all three) in the neck or back;
- Signs of shock;
- An unnatural position of the head.
What kind of compensation could you be entitled to?
If your spinal injury is the result of an accident that was not your fault, or due to the fault of others, you could be entitled to compensation. This will vary considerably depending on the severity of your injuries and how much of an impact it has had on your life.
Compensation could range from hundreds of pounds, to hundreds of thousands of pounds, with those who suffered more permanent injuries being entitled to the higher end of the scale of compensation.
What support is there for those suffering from spinal injuries?
There is a wide range of support for spinal injuries available, and many charities are there to offer support and assistance, such as:
- The Spinal Injuries Association
- Spinal Research
- Back Up Trust
- Disabled Living Foundation
- Spinal Injuries Scotland
- Wings For Life
There are, depending on the severity of the injury, exercises that may aid you on your recovery. A full list of helpful exercises for lower back pain can be found on the NHS website here, and those for upper back pain can be found here.
Speak to a physiotherapist or doctor for specialist information on your individual recovery.
As medicine develops, so do pioneering treatments, a number of which have been developed for spinal injuries and may hopefully become more prominent in treating those with both complete and incomplete spinal injuries. Here are just a few:
For those who have lost their speech due to paralysis, a new device transforms breath into words;
Recovery can be expensive, especially if you have to pay for specialist equipment or treatment such as physiotherapy. If you injury was not your fault, we may be able to help. Call us today on the number at the top of your screen, or fill in our claims form here.