Loss of mobility is often the aspect most thought of when it comes to a spinal cord injury. However, this condition comes with a multitude of other complications that often require constant attention to avoid.
One of these complications involves your skin. Not being able to move or feel below the point of your injury makes you vulnerable to skin conditions such as pressure ulcers, also popularly referred to as bedsores. Your skin provides valuable protection against debris, bacteria and other things that could get inside your body and cause you harm. While it is tough, it is also sensitive.
How do they form?
When too much pressure is placed on it for too long, it becomes starved of nutrients and oxygen, which leads to pressure ulcers. Some of the most common ways they form include the following:
- Your paralysis causes your skin to have less oxygen, which lowers your skin’s resistance. Your body will attempt to compensate by sending more blood to the area, which causes swelling and more pressure on the blood vessels.
- When you slide around a chair or bed, it causes the blood vessels stretch and bend, which can cause an abrasion.
- A bump or fall could cause damage to your skin that you may not see right away.
- Braces and other hard objects can put too much pressure on your skin.
- With little to no sensation in your skin, you could easily burn yourself without knowing it.
As you can see, without the proper signals traveling up and down your spinal cord, it could take some time for you to recognize there is a problem with your skin.
Recognizing the formation of a pressure ulcer
Pressure ulcers do not form right away. They often begin as a red or shiny area on the skin that feels hot or hard to the touch. At this point, relieving the pressure on the skin returns the skin to normal. However, if you cannot sense when you need to move and you cannot move on your own, these red or shiny spots become scabs or blisters. This means the skin is beginning to die.
If left unchecked, the area will develop a hole, or ulcer. The damage can go all the way to your bone. In some cases, surgery is necessary to correct the problem. Make no mistake. Bedsores can turn into a life-threatening situation.
Another need for medical care
Pressure ulcers are yet another reason you may need medical attention after suffering a spinal cord injury, which means more medical bills. Your financial situation may already be in chaos without adding anything else to the pile. Fortunately, you may have an avenue of recourse against the party or parties that put you in this position.
You would probably greatly benefit from a thorough evaluation of your claim, which could help you determine your the best course of action under the circumstances.