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Little-known facts about paralysis and spinal cord injuries

Paralysis is one of the most feared possible effects of a spinal cord injury. No one wants to lose their ability to be mobile and carry on with their lifestyles. Some people are also afraid of the vulnerability they perceive to be a side effect of paralysis.

While it is unwise and unpleasant to live in fear of becoming paralyzed because of a spinal cord injury, knowing some facts about these conditions is a good idea for everyone. Perhaps it will make people a little less reckless and a little more thoughtful about the health and well-being of others.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injuries will happen each year. At 38 percent, the majority of these injuries occur because of motor vehicle accidents. Falling takes second place at 30.5 percent.

Regardless of how spinal cord injuries or paralysis occurs, here are a few lesser-known facts about these conditions.

-- Many patients have less body hair because of interrupted communication between the brain and the hair follicles.

-- Some paralysis patients cannot cough and many die of respiratory failure because of this phenomenon.

-- Most quadriplegics cannot sweat and must cool their bodies externally by using water, fans or air-conditioning.

-- Men make up the majority of spinal cord injuries at about 80 percent.

-- With the advent of an important surgical technique, some paralyzed spinal cord injury patients can now urinate through their navels.

Finally, you should understand the financial effects of suffering a spinal cord injury. Along with losing wages, patients can experience debilitating financial hardships when faced with treatment costs that can soar into the millions.

The takeaway: Any resident of Chicago and elsewhere who suffers a spinal cord injury because of negligence or recklessness should absolutely consider pursuing a legal remedy. This can help pay for at least some of the medical costs associated with these injuries.

Source: The Mobility Resource, "7 Surprising (And Odd) Facts About Spinal Cord Injuries," Tiffiny Carlson, accessed May 03, 2017

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