Philadelphians may give little thought to the amazing functions our bodies accomplish without our even thinking of it. One of these functions is our brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of our body. Our body’s central nervous system is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord, which control the body’s movement and sensation. When this ability to transmit messages between the brain and the body, due to a spinal cord injury, it could result in paralysis.
A spinal cord injury occurs when the nerves inside the bony spinal canal are damaged. The spinal cord need not be severed for loss of function to occur. A loss of function due to a spinal cord injury could occur if the spinal cord is merely bruised or even if it is still intact. While an initial trauma may damage or kill nerve cells in the spinal cord, subsequent occurrences such as oxygen loss and the discharge of toxic chemicals can further exacerbate the injury.
It could take as long as 18 months or even years for a person to regain spinal cord function, if they regain any function at all. This includes not only the loss of motor function and sensation, but also other complications, such as the loss of bowel and bladder function, chronic pain, spasticity, low blood pressure, respiratory difficulties and pressure ulcers, among other problems.
These complications, along with the length of time it takes to recover, if recovery is even possible, could lead a person to be out of work for a long time, if not for the rest of his or her life. In these situations, victims of spinal cord injuries may want to seek Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration recognizes spinal cord disorders as a condition that could constitute a disability if all federal requirements are met. If a person in Philadelphia has suffered a spinal cord injury and wants to pursue SSD benefits, he or she should do what it takes to understand the application process, including seeking legal advice if necessary.
Source: christopherreeve.org, “Spinal cord injury,” Accessed Nov. 14, 2016