What Causes Paralysis?
Paralysis refers to the inability to move a part of the body and depending on the cause, paralysis may be temporary or permanent. Although paralysis is experienced differently from one person to another, the physical, emotional and financial impact can be devastating and life-changing for everyone affected, including family and friends.
Our muscles are a kind of tissue that enables our bodies to move, which is controlled by the nervous system. The nervous system processes messages to and from all parts of the body, just like the hard drive of a computer; if the hard drive breaks, the computer can’t function properly. If nerve cells that control the muscle become injured or diseased, muscles will stop moving, causing paralysis.
Paralysis may affect any muscle in the body which means a person is not only at risk of losing the ability to move; they may also lose the ability to talk or breathe without help.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Car crash injuries are the number one cause of paralysis according to The Mayo Clinic. A car crash is a dangerous situation and can become catastrophic if an occupant suffers a severe bump, blow, or jolt to the head, putting them at risk of experiencing a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 1.4 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. TBI’s are the cause of about 25 percent of paralysis cases in the United States.
A TBI may prevent the brain from communicating with some muscles causing paralysis in those muscles.
Other common events that may cause a traumatic brain injury include:
Falls. Falls from slipping on something, a fall from a bed or ladder, down the stairs, in the bathtub, are all common causes of TBI’s, especially in the elderly and children.
Violence. Gun-shot wounds, domestic violence, shaken baby syndrome, and other assaults contribute to TBI’s as well.
Spinal cord injury
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injuries each year.
The spinal cord transmits messages throughout the body. If the spinal cord gets damaged by an injury, it can cause signals to be disrupted, making it difficult to reach all areas of the body resulting in paralysis. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the ability to breathe, movement of the torso, legs, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function may all be affected by a spinal cord injury.
Paralysis can occur in varying degrees of spinal cord damage, meaning you are unable to move underneath the injury site.
- Monoplegia- paralysis in one limb
- Hemiplegia- paralysis in one arm and one leg on one side of the body
- Paraplegia- paralysis in both legs, may include the pelvis and lower body
- Tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia)- paralysis in both arms and both legs
There are two categories of spinal cord injuries; either complete or incomplete.
- Incomplete spinal cord injuries will allow some signals to pass through the spinal cord, leaving the individual with some level of movement.
- Complete spinal cord injuries are often caused when nerves in the spinal cord are completely severed. The signals will not be able to travel in the spinal cord which means there will not be any movement occurring.
Sports injuries from some sports including boxing, soccer, football, hockey, and other high impact sports are responsible for a large portion of spinal cord injuries and are particularly common in youth. This type of injury can be the result of a fall or serious blow that damages part of the spinal cord. In many cases, the individual will suffer some degree of paralysis below the point of injury.
Injuries to the cervical spine typically cause complete paralysis below the neck or paralysis of both arms and legs. This type of injury can cause paralysis that will result in loss of sensation, loss of function, loss of organ function, altered speech and impaired breathing.
Diseases and disorders causing paralysis
Paralysis may also be the result of damage to the muscles or central nervous system caused by a progressive disease or disorder including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.
In muscular dystrophy, the tissue itself is affected in muscular dystrophy where deterioration of the muscle tissue of the arms and legs causes increasing weakness which can lead to paralysis in parts of the body.
Cerebral palsy is a paralytic condition that happens when there are defects in the developing brain of the fetus or if a brain injury occurs during birth. The centers of the brain that control movement becomes damaged and messages from the brain to the body are not clear, sometimes making movements impossible.
For someone with multiple sclerosis, inflammation scars the nerves and interrupts communication between the brain and the muscles. Over time, an individual who has multiple sclerosis may become completely paralyzed.
Why you should seek legal advice if you suffer from paralysis
When someone’s reckless actions cause others harm, they should be held accountable. Suffering from paralysis due to someone else’s negligence is no different. If you have paralysis due to someone else’s careless behavior, your next step should be to contact a paralysis attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, therapy, pain, suffering, and more. The cost of an injury like this may be substantial due to life-long needs which is why you want the legal representation of an experienced paralysis attorney.
If you or someone you love has suffered paralysis due to an injury caused by someone else, don’t hesitate to contact experienced paralysis attorneys.
This blog post was submitted by The Carlson Law Group.