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Diagnosis of Spinal Cord Injury

Ordinarily, a doctor can rule out spinal cord injury by testing sensory function and movement.  In cases where the injured party complains of neck pain, however, diagnostic tests must be administered.

First, the physician should obtain the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical examination.  In obtaining medical history, the physician may ask questions regarding details of any prior neck or back injuries, weakness of arms or legs, or any loss of sensation in the arms or legs.  The physical examination will test muscle strength and reflexes.

Next, the doctor will take x-rays of the neck and back.  X-rays are typically ordered for any person who is suspected of having a spinal cord injury because it can reveal spinal cord problems.  A computerized tomography (CT) scan may also be administered, which uses computers to form cross-sectional images that can pinpoint bone or disc problems.  CT scans are considered more thorough than X-rays.  Magnetic resonance imagining (MRIs) are also ordered.  MRIs use a magnetic field and radio waves to produce computerized images to help look at the spinal cord and identify herniated discs, blood clots or any masses compressed against the spinal cord.  Another option is myelography.  Myelography allows the doctor to see the spinal nerves more clearly by injecting dye into the spinal canal, and is used in conjunction with an MRI.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are generally caused by injury resulting in compression of the spinal cord.  Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States include:

  • Automobile accidents, which includes both auto and motorcycle accidents.  These types of accidents cause more than 40 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year.
  • Falls (such as slip-and-fall accidents), especially for individuals 65 years and older.  Overall, falls cause approximately one quarter of all spinal cord injuries.
  • Acts of violence (assault), which account for roughly 15 percent of spinal cord injuries.  The most common acts of violence resulting in spinal cord injuries are gunshot and knife wounds.
  • Sports and recreation injuries, such as diving into a pool that is too shallow.

Contact York Law Firm

If you or someone you love has sustained a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s recklessness, negligence, or intentional acts, you may be entitled to money damages.  The attorneys at York Law Firm are devoted to helping victims of spinal cord injuries obtain compensation for their medical costs, physical injuries and pain and suffering.

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