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What are some complications of spinal cord injuries?

Some of the complications you may face with a spinal cord injury include skin breakdowns, spasticity and deep vein thrombosis. These are just three of many potential complications, but they can be difficult to live with or even life-threatening. These secondary conditions need to be considered when you're making your claim for compensation, because they can be as costly as any other major illness.

Skin breakdown can occur from sitting in the same position or not using a body part frequently. Skin breakdown is essentially the same as a pressure sore, which those in nursing homes sometimes suffer from due to their lack of movement.

These sores occur due to excessive pressure on the bones of the buttocks or hips most commonly, although they can occur in other locations.

Another potential issue is spasticity. This is an exaggeration of normal reflexes that happens when the area is stimulated. For instance, if you stimulate the body below the area where the nerves are disconnected, then the movements of those body parts can become exaggerated. The body may believe that it is in pain or stretching, and that results in the muscles spasming. This can be caused by many things, but increased spastic activity can be attributed to infections, like kidney infections or bladder infections, much of the time.

Lastly, deep vein thrombosis is a concern. This is a blood clot that develops in the legs. Most commonly, these clots occur due to a lack of movement, which is common for those who have no feeling in their legs or lower extremities. The blood vessels are affected by paralysis as well, although not as severely, and this can cause sludging. Sludging is when the blood pools, which can lead to the development of clots.

Source: Spinal Injury Network, "Spinal Cord Injury Complications," accessed Feb. 26, 2016

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