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Accident consequences

We talk about traffic accidents every day. We read about them in newspapers or on the internet. We hear about them in school, at work... Traffic accidents are the first and most common cause of serious physical injuries amongst young people.

Severe physical injuries or traumatic injuries are those that cause death or permanent injury, as well as those that can be healed and do not affect the quality of life once they heal.

The worst cases of injuries with lasting consequences are spinal cord and brain injuries. They are a huge blow to the injured person, his/her family and the surrounding environment, as well as the wider community.

The injuries with permanent consequences are:

  • spinal cord injuries,
  • amputations,
  • head injuries,
  • emotional trauma.

The spinal cord lies within the spinal canal and is protected by the spinal column. Its basic function is to transfer information from the brain throughout the body and vice versa. Even the smallest spinal cord injury causes a disruption in the transfer of information. A spinal cord injury can cause full or partial paralysis of the lower and/or upper extremities. There exist four different diagnoses depending on the type of spinal cord injury:

1. Paraplegia

It can be caused by an injury to the middle or lower part of the spinal cord. The injured person can only move around in a wheelchair due to the total paralysis of the lower extremities.

2. Paraparesis

Similarly as paraplegia it is caused by an injury to the middle or lower part of the spinal cord. An injured person has partially paralysed lower extremities and can move around with special splints, crutches or in a wheelchair.

3. Quadriplegia

It occurs when the spinal cord is damaged at the neck. A complete paralysis of all the extremities occurs. The injured person can only move around in a wheelchair – often it must be electric.

4. Quadriparesis

The injured person has partially paralysed upper and lower extremities and can only move around in a wheelchair – electric or manual.

Permanent spinal cord damage also has various other physical and psychological consequences.

Among the physical consequences of para- or quadriplegia are:

  • impaired motor functions,
  • loss of muscle mass – atrophy,
  • spasms,
  • pressure ulcers – bedsores,
  • urinary tract infections,
  • chronic pain, …

Psychological consequences of invalidism are:

  • traumas,
  • reticence,
  • discontent,
  • feeling of uselessness,
  • inactiveness,
  • suicidal thoughts, …

Therefore rehabilitation is of the utmost importance, along with an active return to a somewhat normal life.