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EveryMonday 08 July 2019

Every day six people are paralysed by spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injuries may not loom as large in the public consciousness as other serious medical conditions, but numbers released by the charity Aspire demonstrate that they are far more widespread than you might imagine.

No less than 50,000 people in the UK are living with a spinal cord injury and every four hours somebody is paralysed by a spinal cord injury – that’s six people every single day. That means six people with life-changing conditions, because spinal cord injury is more than not being able to walk - it affects bodily functions such as bladder, bowel and sexual functions.

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and other tissue which extends from the brain’s base at the top of your neck down the length of your back. It’s protected by the bones (or vertebrae) that make up the spine, and by spinal fluid.

Your brain and spinal cord are vital for controlling your bodily functions. The spinal cord is responsible for communicating two-way messages to and from the brain to all parts of the body – your muscles, organs and your skin. We are able to feel pain and move our arms or legs because of these messages or impulses.

If the spinal cord is damaged or injured, some of the messages or impulses may be ‘interrupted’. This can lead to partial or total loss of feeling or movement in parts of your body – including your limbs and your internal organs.

Most injuries cause loss of movement and feeling in the parts of the body below the level of the injury. If you damage or break your spinal cord close to your neck, this will cause paralysis in a larger part of the body than damage to your spinal cord lower down your back. As well as the physical impact of a spinal cord injury, there are also emotional and psychological effects on the person concerned – and their family.

Men account for more than 80% of spinal cord injury victims, and the reason for this is quite clear: men are more likely to take risks, especially young men, who may be more prone to playing dangerous sports or engaging in risky activities such as high-speed driving.

After road traffic accidents, the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries are falls. Other notable causes include falling objects, diving injuries, violent altercations, and medical and surgical complications.

Most workplace injuries to the back or spine occur because there is an aspect of the work environment that is unsafe or health and safety guidelines have been breached. If that is the case, the victim may have the right to compensation. Likewise, if you suffer a spinal cord injury in a road accident that is not your fault you may be able to claim compensation.

Swindon Accident Solicitors have decades of experience supporting the victims of serious road accidents and workplace incidents, and our personal injury specialist Robert Millbourn is a supporter of the Spinal Injuries Association.

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury because of the negligence of your employer or another third party, please contact Swindon Accident Solicitors on 01793 425595 for a FREE, no obligation consultation on how to make a claim for compensation.

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