The Long-Term Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries By Foley Law Firm on March 01, 2023

A man wearing a neckbrace and laying on a stretcherA spinal cord injury can be devastating, causing long-term damage and permanent injury for many victims.

At Foley Law Firm, our attorneys help victims facing the long-term effects of spinal cord injuries in Scranton, PA, Stroudsburg, PA, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and surrounding areas recover the maximum compensation for their losses.

When seeking compensation for a spinal cord injury, it’s important that the long term complications be taken into consideration. The following are some common long-term effects spinal cord injury.


Permanent paralysis is one of the most significant long-term effects of spinal cord injuries. Paralysis will vary depending on where in the spinal cord injury occurred, as well as the degree of the injury.

There are different types of paralysis that can cause lifelong challenges to those who have experienced a spinal cord injury, including:

  • Paraplegia: Paraplegia affects the legs and feet, leaving people with paraplegia unable to control their body below the waist. This can include bladder and bowel functions.
  • High tetraplegia: High tetraplegia refers to the inability to move from the neck down. Those with high tetraplegia need help with many daily functions, including breathing. 
  • Low tetraplegia: Low tetraplegia also impacts the body below the neck but some people with low tetraplegia are still able to breathe on their own and may have some ability to move their hands or arms.

Respiratory Complications

Victims of spinal cord injuries with permanent paralysis can develop respiratory complications. Some people are not able to breathe without assistance. Even those who can breathe on their own may experience a reduction in lung capacity and weakened respiratory muscles. As a result, people with spinal cord injuries are at increased risk of developing pneumonia and atelectasis, or partial or complete collapse of the lungs.

Urinary and Bowel Complications

Spinal cord injuries can impact urinary and bowel function. People with spinal cord injuries may lose bladder and bowel control. Loss of bowel control can lead to issues with both incontinence and constipation.

Muscle Spasticity

Muscle spasticity is a condition in which the muscles stiffen or tighten and is common following spinal cord injuries. With muscle spasticity, the muscles randomly contract and will sometimes lock in place for an extended amount of time.

Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers are wounds to the skin that can develop in spinal cord victims. These sores can occur as a result of decreased circulation in paralyzed limbs combined with pressure against the skin from such things as confinement to a bed or sitting in a wheelchair.

Pressure ulcers are at risk of infection, which can become fatal if left untreated.


Osteoporosis is common in people with spinal cord injuries. With osteoporosis, the bones lose density and become weak. This puts people with osteoporosis at increased risk of breaking bones.

For people with spinal cord injuries and osteoporosis, a minor bump, like when transferring them from a bed to chair, may be enough to cause a bone fracture.

Contact the Attorneys of Foley Law Firm

If the negligent or reckless actions of another person has caused your spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and other damages. To learn more about your legal options, please call the Foley Law Firm at (570) 424-1757 or contact us online.

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The attorneys of the Foley Law Firm provide committed personal injury representation to eastern Pennsylvania. Our firm is proud to be affiliated with prominent organizations, including:

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