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Secondary conditions are common with spinal cord injuries

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2019 | Injuries |

For many people, thinking about a spinal cord injury will bring up only the thoughts related to the damage to the spinal cord. Some might not realize that there are many other impacts that this type of injury can have on your life.

Victims can suffer from mental health issues, including depression, when they are dealing with this. They might also have physical secondary conditions that can lead to serious health challenges or even death. It is imperative for anyone who is living with a spinal cord injury understand some of the conditions.

Autonomic dysreflexia

For people who have a T6 injury or higher, there is a chance that you might develop autonomic dysreflexia. This occurs when there is a dangerous rise in your blood pressure because of an automatic nervous system over-reaction caused by painful stimuli lower than the level of the injury. Symptoms of this include nasal congestion, hypertension, goosebumps, severe headache, slow pulse and clammy skin. Seek medical care right away if you notice symptoms that signal something is amiss.

Pressure sores

Lack of ability to move and the techniques used to transfer you can lead to skin problems. Pressure sores are ulcers that occur when the skin breaks down. It starts off as a red area, but it won’t fade within a half hour of pressure being removed. If the condition is left untreated, the skin begins to become more damaged and an open sore will occur. If it still isn’t treated, the damage can extend to the muscle, bone and other tissue, which can result in the need for surgery and other complications.


A spinal cord injury can lead to involuntary muscle contractions, which is known as spasticity. This condition can affect any muscle in the body, including those that control speech. This can impact the way a person communicates. It is very painful and can lead to mobility difficulties. In most cases, surgery won’t help with this secondary condition.


Many types of infections are possible for a person who has a spinal cord injury. Some of these come from the fact that areas of the body can’t function properly and that the immune system might be compromised. Pneumonia, which is an infection in the lungs, is possible. This can require extensive support for the patient, including ventilator assistance. Bladder and urinary tract infections are also possible, which can usually be managed with antibiotics.

If you suffered a spinal cord injury at the hands of someone else, you have the option of seeking compensation for the damages. This can lessen the financial burden on you and might improve your quality of life.