Spinal cord injuries are the result of trauma or damage to the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. They may occur due to motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports and recreational activities, acts of violence, diseases or numerous other factors. Whether their injury is incomplete or complete, spinal cord injuries may have a profound effect on the lives of those in Florida who suffer them, as well as on their families, moving forward.

Depending on the location and the completeness of their injuries, people who suffer spinal cord injuries may experience a range of symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include the loss of movement, pain or an intense stinging sensation, loss of or altered sensation, difficulty breathing or coughing, and spasms or exaggerated reflex activities. Additionally, spinal cord injuries may cause partial or total paralysis.

As a direct result of their spinal cord injuries or secondary to the effects of their injuries, people may experience a number of complications. Bladder and bowel control are often impaired as a result of damage to the spinal cord, which may contribute to an increased risk for kidney infections, kidney or bladder stones, and urinary tract infections. In addition to chronic muscle, joint or nerve pain, a loss of skin sensations may put people at an increased risk for developing pressure sores or suffering heat or cold-related injuries. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, spinal cord injuries may also make people more susceptible to developing respiratory and heart problems. For example, people may have an increased risk of pneumonia, orthostatic hypotension or autonomic hyperreflexia due to the effects of their injuries on their circulatory or respiratory systems.

In addition to emergent care to stabilize them following their injuries, as well as ongoing treatment of the associated complications, people who have suffered spinal cord injuries may require rehabilitation. This includes physical therapy, skill-building activities and counseling. Additionally, electrical stimulation treatments may be used to help restore some functions.