Symptoms of Spine Injury

Bruiser attorney Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is a spine injury attorney with vast experience in catastrophic injury law.

By Michael P. Ehline, Esq. – Obviously, there are many obvious symptoms associated with the onset of a serious and immediate spinal cord problem. However, sometimes these effects fail to rear their ugly heads until later on down the road. There can be multiple defendants, some with deep pockets, and others who declare bankruptcy, and others who disappear. Besides hiring a lawyer, you must make certain that jurist knows the Physicians Desk Reference “PDR”, as well as the doctor he is recommending you treat with for a positive recovery. Even more important is victim’s education. This is why we are so glad Ehline was willing to help us out on our site so we could get EVERYTHING right!

Understanding the symptoms and making sure you either have insurance or a tort lawsuit to pay for their long term damage can be a real chore for a layperson. So let’s try and help you out. First of all, the signs of a spinal cord injury may have one or more symptoms after being hurt:

  • Loss of sensation which includes the ability to feel hot or cold.
  • Loss of movement.
  • Pain or an extreme stinking sensation that has been caused by damaged nerve fibers in the spinal cord.
  • Spasms or overstated reflexes.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty coughing or clearing secretions in the lungs.
  • Changes in sexual function or sensitivity.
  • Changes in fertility.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.

In the event there are signs or symptoms of a spinal cord injury after an accident it is crucial to seek immediate medical treatment. The signs or symptoms may include:

  • An odd position or twisted neck or back.
  • Pressure on the head, neck, back or extreme back pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty with balance.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Tingling, numbness or loss of sensation in the fingers, toes, hands or feet.
  • Weakness or loss of coordination in any part of the body.
  • Paralysis in any part of the body.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.

The healthcare professional will use a series of testing in determining the neurological damage done to the spinal cord and the completeness class of the injury.

Medical Treatment

When a significant trauma to the head or neck occurs it is essential to seek immediate medical treatment for an evaluation of any damage to the spinal cord. Generally it is automatically assumed after an trauma accident the victim has a spinal cord injury until the medical professional determines differently. The reason this type of caution is used after an incident involving traumatic injury includes:

  • More severe harm can be caused, since not all spinal cord injuries are immediately apparent.
  • There may be numbness or paralysis immediately or it may occur slowly with bleeding or swelling in or around the spinal cord occurs.
  • The suspected spinal cord injury needs immediate medical treatment to determine the extent of the injury or complications, which can involve the amount of recovery.


Depending on the location of the spinal cord injury and the severity will determine whether the patient has the ability to control their extremities. When the injury is at the lowest part of the spinal cord it is medically referred to as the neurological level of the injury. The severity is referred to as “the completeness” and is then classified as:
• Complete: This is a spinal cord injury in which nearly all of the sensory or feeling and the motor function, which is the ability to control movement is lost below the location of the damage. The spinal cord injury will be classified as complete.

  • Incomplete: The incomplete injury will mean that the patient has some sensory or motor function below the damaged area of the spinal cord. In the incomplete classification there are varied degrees of damage.

Paralysis from a spinal cord injury may be classified as:

  • Quadriplegia or Tetraplegia: This is paralysis affecting the arms, hands, legs, trunk and pelvic organs due to the spinal cord injury (See the legal perspective here.).
  • Paraplegia: This is paralysis that affects the legs, pelvic organs and either all or a part of the trunk.

Steps to Take with a Suspected Spinal Cord Injury

When it is suspected that a person who has been injured may have a spinal cord injury there are steps that should be take that can be vital for the victim:

  • Do not move the person. Moving an individual with a spinal cord injury can result in permanent paralysis and complications.
  • Call 911 immediately after the event.
  • Make the person remain still until the ambulance arrives.
  • Provide basic first aid, without moving the head or neck of the person. This is to stop bleeding and other issues until emergency medical personnel arrive at the scene.
  • When possible place heavy towels on each side of the victim’s neck. If that is not possible to stop movement then hold the head and neck to prevent the victim from moving them.

Getting Legal Help

Irrespective of retaining a lawyer, make sure that lawyer knows the basics of spine injury law.  Make sure you hire someone who reads the PDR, has a high IQ, and great case results, either by trial, or settlement. We have several lawyers who contribute to this site, and Ehline is just one of many.



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