One of the most catastrophic injuries that you can suffer after an accident is a spinal cord injury. According to Mayo Clinic, a spinal cord injury may be complete or incomplete. Complete injuries result in loss of all movement and ability below the injury site and incomplete only results in some loss.
In addition to paralysis, there are other complications that can occur.
Bladder and bowel control
After a spinal cord injury, you may not have the ability to control your bladder. Your bladder still stores urine from the kidney, but the spinal cord cannot deliver messages to the brain regarding it. Due to the injury, you may have a higher risk of kidney infections and kidney stones.
Like your bladder and kidneys, your stomach and intestines may still function how they did in the past. However, you can lose your ability to control your bowel movements. Some physicians prescribe a high fiber diet to help regulate your bowels. Rehabilitation can also help.
Respiratory system control
A spinal cord injury can affect your abdominal and chest muscles. You may have difficulty breathing or coughing, following an accident. If you have a cervical or thoracic spinal cord injury, you have a higher chance of developing lung problems or pneumonia. To help treat respiratory problems, a doctor may prescribe therapy and/or medication.
Spinal cord injuries can affect your circulatory system. Different injuries may result in different circulatory issues. For example, some patients may experience low blood pressure upon rising. Others may have swelling in their extremities. Due to the circulation changes, many patients have a higher risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism.