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Welcome to Vegas Lawyer. This site is for people who were hurt in Nevada. Contact us for a free consultation. You may want to read the Nevada Personal Injury Law Introduction on our home page. Also, you can get an overview of the different types of claims such as Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Premises Liability, and Products Liability before you explore the Article below if you reached our site through this page.

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  • What is Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Liability Evidence In A Medical Malpractice Claim
  • Changes After A Spinal Cord Injury


  • Changes After A Spinal Cord Injury

    Anatomical and Functional Changes After Injury

    The types of disability associated with spinal cord injury vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, the segment of the spinal cord at which the injury occurs, and which nerve fibers are damaged. In spinal cord injury, the destruction of nerve fibers that carry motor signals from the brain to the torso and limbs leads to muscle paralysis. Destruction of sensory nerve fibers can lead to loss of sensations such as touch, pressure, and temperature; it sometimes also causes pain. Other serious consequences can include exaggerated reflexes; loss of bladder and bowel control; sexual dysfunction; lost or decreased breathing capacity; impaired cough reflexes; and spasticity (abnormally strong muscle contractions). Most people with spinal cord injury regain some functions between a week and six months after injury, but the likelihood of spontaneous recovery diminishes after six months. Rehabilitation strategies can minimize the long-term disability.

    Spinal cord injuries can lead to many secondary complications, including pressure sores, increased susceptibility to respiratory diseases, and autonomic dysreflexia. Autonomic dysreflexia is a potentially life-threatening increase in blood pressure, sweating, and other autonomic reflexes in reaction to bowel impaction or some other stimulus. Careful medical management and skilled supportive care is necessary to prevent these complications.

    Researchers studying spinal cords obtained from autopsy have identified several different types of spinal cord injuries. The most common types of spinal cord injuries found in one large study were contusions (bruising of the spinal cord) and compression injuries (caused by pressure on the spinal cord). Other types of injury included lacerations, caused by a bullet or other object, and central cord syndrome.

    In contusion injuries, a cavity, or hole, often forms in the center of the spinal cord. Myelinated axons typically survive in a ring along the inside edge of the cord. Some axons may survive in the center cavity, but they usually lose their myelin covering. This demyelination greatly slows the speed of nerve transmission. Slowing of nerve impulses can be measured by a diagnostic technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

    Another example of a spinal cord injury is central cord syndrome, which affects the cervical (neck) region of the cord and results from focused damage to a group of nerve fibers called the corticospinal tract. The corticospinal tract controls movement by carrying signals between the brain and the spinal cord. Patients with central cord syndrome typically have relatively mild impairment, and they often spontaneously recover many of their abilities. Patients usually recover substantially by 6 weeks after injury, despite continued loss of axons and myelin. Delays in motor responses persist, but permanent impairment is usually confined to the hands.

    Complete severing of the spinal cord is rare in humans, but even axons that survive the initial injury often lose their ability to function. Secondary damage, which continues for hours, can cause loss of myelin, degeneration of axons, and nerve cell death. Patients with their spinal cords completely severed often show abnormal reflexes that emerge more than 8 months after injury. These reflexes, such as twitching of muscles in the arm and hand in response to sensory stimulation of the legs and feet, may result from "sprouting" of new branches from sensory fibers just below the lesion. They may also result from activation of nerve pathways that are normally suppressed. Other abnormal responses, such as sweating in response to movement of a hair, may be due to sprouting of nerves in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the PNS that controls involuntary body functions such as sweating and heart rate.

    Since even a small number of nerve fibers can support significant nervous system function, measures that reduce damage could allow much greater function than would otherwise be expected. Devising interventions that will achieve this goal is one of the major challenges in spinal cord injury research today.

    This information came from a
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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