While motor vehicle accidents may cause many types of injuries, some of the most complex and severe are those involving the spinal cord. Injuries to the spinal cord may vary in severity and have many different symptoms, including well-known issues such as loss of movement or coordination, ongoing pain and even paralysis. However, there are many other complications that may occur after a severe spinal cord injury from a car accident.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some spinal cord injuries extensively affect other areas of the body and create complications that decrease independence and quality of life. For example, a spinal cord injury may cause a partial or total loss of skin sensitivity. Your body may be unable to send messages to your brain when your skin is overly cold, hot or under pressure. Poor skin sensitivity may make you more vulnerable to burns and bedsores.
A spinal cord injury may also affect your respiratory system. You may have trouble breathing properly or coughing. Certain thoracic and cervical spinal cord injuries may increase your risk of lung problems and pneumonia. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may need to complete physical therapy or take medication to address these respiratory problems.
The Mayo Clinic also states that spinal cord injuries may lead to issues with fitness, wellness and muscle tone. Muscle atrophy may be common immediately following the injury, and if you experience decreased mobility, it may be harder for you to maintain an active and fit lifestyle. Some spinal cord injuries also create spasticity, uncontrollable motion or tightening of the muscles. Many of these complications from spinal cord injuries require long-term treatment and therapy.