Perhaps you knew as soon as the accident occurred that something just wasn't right. Maybe you thought you were just in shock and didn't consider that your injuries were severe. In either case, hearing from doctors that you suffered a spinal cord injury was probably disconcerting and frightening.
Even if doctors tell you that you will walk again, it could be months before that happens. The fact is that your injury could be permanent and affect you for the rest of your life. In either case, you may soon find out that you have more to worry about than just the fact that you can't walk.
Secondary conditions are a part of life after an SCI
An SCI affects nearly every part of your body. The interruptions in signals from your brain to other parts of your body ultimately affect several systems, not just the ones not getting the signals. For instance, you could experience issues with your blood pressure. It could wildly fluctuate and even drop to dangerous levels. Breathing issues are common as well since your diaphragm may not function properly and allow you to take deep or full breaths.
You could lose muscle mass and bone density. The pliable connective tissues could stiffen up and inhibit movement by constricting or stiffening your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Decreased bone density weakens the bones, which could make it difficult, if not dangerous, to walk. Due to the dramatic decrease in activity, your heart could also suffer since it won't perform as well. Other secondary conditions you could experience include the following:
- Skin breakdown
- Pressure ulcers
- Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- Autonomic dysreflexia
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle tone changes and spasticity
Your diet and movement can greatly affect these secondary conditions. You may also need medications for some ailments. You will need to become more aware of your body than you may have ever been prior to the accident since some conditions could become life-threatening. You will need medical care for the duration of your condition, which could be temporary or permanent.
Dealing with the financial side of an SCI
Since you were injured at work, you could seek benefits from Minnesota's workers' compensation system. In order to help ensure that you receive all of the benefits and compensation you may be entitled to, you may want to work with an experienced attorney, especially since any mistake in your application could delay or diminish your receipt of the benefits you deserve.