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What is spinal shock?

Spinal cord injuries can be very complicated. One aspect of many of these injuries is something that most people haven't heard of until it happens to them or a loved one. It's called spinal shock.

Spinal shock involves the loss of neurological activity in the parts of the body below where the injury occurred. It causes a loss of sensation in the impacted areas as well as paralysis. The effects of spinal shock can continue for weeks or even months following the injury, depending on how doctors define the return of reflexes as emergence from spinal shock.

Some reflexes return sooner than others. However, as reflexes begin to return, patients may experience what is called hyper-reflexia, which is an unusually strong reflex as the result of minor stimulation.

Spinal shock can cause a loss of automatic, sensory, motor and reflex function. It is due to a loss of conduction that occurs in the spinal cord after an injury. Victims of spinal shock may experience the effects as soon as 30 minutes following the injury.

If you or a loved one have experienced a spinal cord injury, you may be looking at a long road to recovery. In some cases, full recovery is never achieved. Medical treatment, physical therapy and adaptive living modifications to your home may be necessary. A spinal cord injury can also impact a person's ability to work.

If the injury is the fault of someone else, it's essential to seek legal guidance from a personal injury attorney with experience in handling spinal cord injuries. He or she can help you seek the compensation that you need as you recover or adapt to your new normal after this life-altering injury.

Source: Apparelized, "Spinal Shock Following Spinal Cord Injury," accessed Dec. 01, 2015

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