Accidents at work can result in temporary, and even permanent, injuries to the spinal cord. Depending on the nature and location of the spinal injury, partial or complete paraplegia or tetraplegia could result.
Complete paraplegia is a term physicians use to describe an impairment in motor or sensory function of the legs. Paraplegia can result from injuries to either the thoracic, lumbar or sacral regions of the spine. If all four limbs are affected by the injury this is referred to as tetraplegia (also commonly referred to as quadriplegia). Monoplegia is the term is only one limb is affected.
Spinal cord injuries can also result in spastic paraplegia, resulting in sudden and uncontrolled movements of the affected limb or limbs.
Individuals that suffer a work injury that results in paraplegia or quadriplegia may experience complications. Pressure sores, thrombosis, inflammation, and nerve related complications often occur.
In order to assure as much functionality and independence as possible following a spinal cord injury, it is essential that a treatment and rehabilitation program be customized to meet the unique needs of the injured worker. A team of professionals should be assembled, including physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists’.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system following a spinal cord injury can be challenging for both the patient and family. Assembling an effective team of professionals as early as possible to optimize recovery, regain function, and establish independence may save delays and complications later.