A spinal cord injury occurs when any part of the neck, back, lower back, vertebrae, connective tissues, surrounding muscles or nerve cells are damaged. Spinal cord injuries can be incredibly dangerous and life threatening, often resulting in paralysis or death.
Not only does the spinal cord serve as your body’s support beam, holding you upright, it is also a nerve-highway, communicating signals from the brain to much of the body. Victims of spinal cord injuries commonly require constant medical care and assistance to accomplish even the simplest tasks.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, call Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. today at 303-355-7202 to discuss your case for free with an experienced attorney. We proudly serve Colorado’s Front Range, including Denver, Longmont and Pueblo. Se habla Español.
Keep reading for information on:
- Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
- Spinal Facet Joint Injuries
- Spinal Disc Injuries
- Cervical Radiculopathy or Pinched Nerve
- How Our Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys Can Help You
- Scheduling Your Free Spine Injury Consultation Today
Your spine comprises 24 individual vertebrae. These vertebrae are hollow, allowing the spinal cord to run the length of your spine. Intervertebral discs rest between each vertebra. Spinal flexibility is supported by bony knobs called facet joints that connect to the vertebrae.
The spinal cord itself is guarded by a watertight sack, called a dura mater, which keeps the cord, nerve endings, and spinal cord fluid secure.
The severity of spinal cord injuries depends on how and where the vertebrae are injured. If the spine is damaged but not severed, certain functions may be restored through various forms of rehabilitation. However, if the cord is severed or parts of the spine are completely damaged, the consequences of the injury can last a lifetime.
The spine is divided into three sections:
- Cervical spine – the neck (7 vertebrae): Cervical spine injuries are typically the most catastrophic of all spinal cord injuries. Damage to this area of the spine may result in difficult speaking and the loss of functionality in the hands, wrists and arms. In the worst cases, cervical spinal cord injuries cause quadriplegia. Ongoing home care and contestant monitoring are often necessary to prevent death in these types of injuries.
- Thoracic Spine – the upper back (12 vertebrae): The thoracic spine comprises the middle section of the spinal cord. Thoracic spine injuries can affect motor, bladder and sexual functions and can also result in paraplegia and the inability to control breathing. Adaptive technology is necessary to assist with mobility and breathing in severe cases of these types of injuries.
- Lumbar and sacral spine – the lower back (5 vertebrae and the pelvis): The lumbar and sacral spine comprise the lower part of the spinal column. Injury to this region can cause a loss of bowel and bladder control, loss of sexual function and loss of function in the legs and hips. Damage to the lumbar and sacral spine may require adaptive devices such as leg braces or a wheelchair.
Following an injury to the vertebrae, discs or nerves, you may experience numbness, tingling or a temporary loss of function or movement. In some cases, treatment for these injuries may require little more than immobilization followed by cortisone injections or an epidural. However, traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents often damage the spinal cord so severely that a full recovery may be impossible.
If you have suffered an injury to your spine, contact Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. today to discuss your case for free with an experienced spinal cord injury attorney.
Facet joints are small joints that stabilize the vertebrae and provide greater mobility for the neck and back. Since extreme rotation can cause spinal cord or nerve damage, facet joints are crucial for keeping the spine flexible and healthy. Covered with cartilage, facet joints slide on each other and can eventually deteriorate over time. These joints can tear when harmed, making the spinal cord more vulnerable to damage.
Facet arthropathy, also known as facet joint syndrome, occurs when the cartilage protecting the facet joints wears down and becomes inflamed. Facet joint injuries can place uneven pressure along the spine, accelerating the wear and tear of the joint. This causes the cartilage to become rough and irritated.
Symptoms of cervical facet joint injuries include:
- Discomfort leaning backward
- Pain in the hips, bottom, groin or thighs
- Ringing in ears
- Arm or leg pain
- A dull ache in the low back and buttocks or shoulders and back of the head
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Chronic or reoccurring pain
Since the lower back typically bears the brunt of weight and motion of the upper body, lumbar facet syndrome is quite common. Cervical facet joint pain usually occurs at the base of the head, neck, shoulders, upper back and mid-back.
These conditions can impact your ability to earn a living and ensure the well-being of your family and future. If your facet injury was caused by someone else, you should not have to face these challenges alone. Call Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. today to speak with an experienced spine injury lawyer for free.
Treating Facet Joint Injuries
Although facet joint injuries can’t be reversed, there are a variety of pain mitigation options available. Medication, physical therapy, weight loss, proper posture, lifestyle changes and exercise can mitigate discomfort and improve your quality of life. If these approaches fail to control or alleviate pain, your doctor may recommend treatments such as:
- Surgery: Spinal fusion surgery may be performed when there is nerve root compression from spinal instability, degenerative disc disease or enlarged facet joints. By fusing the injured area of a spinal vertebra, damaged facet joints are prevented from moving and causing pain.
- Nerve radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Once a nerve block test is conducted to determine which nerves need to be treated, this procedure uses advanced radiofrequency energy to burn the small nerves around the facet’s joint capsule. Nerve radiofrequency ablation often provides long-lasting pain relief.
- Steroid joint injections: In some cases, numbing agents and corticosteroids are injected into the painful joint to reduce discomfort. Steroids reduce inflammation and swelling around the nerves. This approach can relieve pain for days, months or even years. Lifestyle changes and physical therapy after steroid joint injections can further improve the condition. Facet joint injections can be repeated if the pain returns.
Spinal discs rest between each of your vertebrae. These discs serve as vertebrae cushions, allowing your spine to twist and bend. When trauma forces a disc to break or bulge, the disc becomes misaligned. When discs are damaged, the spinal cord or spinal nerves can become compressed or pinched, causing painful and debilitating symptoms in the arms, legs and back. Without proper treatment, a herniated or bulging disc can affect arm and leg strength, bowel and bladder control and genital usage.
Common injuries to the spinal disc include:
- Protruding Disc: This type of injury happens when less than half a spinal disc’s soft cartilage extends into the spinal column.
- Bulging Disc: These injuries occur when more than half of a disc’s soft cartilage extends into the spinal column. Even if the soft cartilage within the disc has not torn through the disc’s outer layer, compression of the spinal cord or the spinal nerve roots may still occur.
- Herniated Disc: Herniated disc injuries occur when the inner cartilage of a disc tears through the disc’s outer layer. This usually causes the disc to compress the spinal cord or nerve root.
The spinal cord and nerve roots are held in the spinal canal. Pressure is placed on the nerve roots and spinal cord when a disc protrudes into the spinal canal. These nerve compressions result in a number of serious issues, such as:
- Bowel irregularity and kidney problems
- Decreased sexual performance
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling in the hand, arm, foot, calf or lower leg
- Swelling in the area of the bulging disc
- Buttocks pain
- Radiating pain down a leg or arm
The experienced spinal cord injury attorneys at Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. understand the complexities of these types of cases and have the skill and resources necessary to help you seek the justice you deserve. If you have suffered a herniated disc injury or bulging disc injury call us today to discuss your case for free.
A cervical radiculopathy injury, commonly referred to as a pinched nerve, can trigger pain that shoots through the shoulders, arms and neck. These types of injuries can create painful symptoms that result from nerve irritation in the cervical spine.
While many victims of cervical radiculopathy describe a sharp pain shooting down their arms, others experience a feeling of numbness or “pins and needles” that inhibits their ability to perform basic tasks.
Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include:
- Tingling feeling
- Multilevel disc bulging
- Poor upper arm reflexes
- Cold and hot sensations in damaged area
- Numb feeling
- Unexplained coordination problems
- Muscular weakness
- Pain in the areas of the upper back, shoulders, neck, chest and arm
If you suffer from even a minor spinal injury, your ability to perform daily tasks and job duties may be considerably inhibited. Cervical radiculopathy symptoms can result in a significant loss of wages or even a loss of employment altogether.
You have rights. If your injury was caused by the reckless or careless actions of someone else, the attorneys at Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. can help you pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other undue expenses you may be facing.
After a spinal cord injury, you may be facing high medical bills, time away from work and uncertainty about the future of you and your family. We understand your frustration and we are committed to helping you get the medical care you need and the financial compensation you deserve. Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. can:
- Help you obtain medical treatment: Seeking medical care is crucial to both your health and your legal case. At Fuicelli & Lee, P.C., we know that your case is about more than just a financial award; this is your life, and your health and rehabilitation are our top priorities.
- Explain your legal rights and options: We will help you understand your rights and all of your potential options. We will advise you on the best legal strategy to protect your rights and well-being.
- Stand up to insurance companies: Insurers are in the business of making profits, not paying out settlements. We know the tactics used by insurance companies to deny, delay or devalue legitimate claims. We will work tirelessly to ensure you get the full and fair compensation you deserve.
- Provide critical support: Serious accidents, and the injuries they cause, can be overwhelming. Adjusting to your situation, dealing with your health, managing daily life and handling the financial aftermath is difficult enough as it is. Trying to research your options and pursuing legal action in addition to your new challenges is more than you should have to handle alone, and you likely won’t get the results you rightfully deserve. Our spinal injury lawyers can serve as your trusted advisors and legal advocates to help you get your life back on track.
Call Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. today at 303-355-7202 to discuss your spinal cord injury case for free with a skilled lawyer. We welcome clients from Denver, Longmont, Pueblo and other areas along the Front Range. Se habla Español.