Spinal Cord Injuries Awareness Day is an annual event which will take place on Friday 18 May this year. The day is aimed at helping raise awareness of the impact of a spinal cord injury and highlights the invaluable work of the spinal cord injury charities and other associated organisations throughout the UK which support those who have suffered a spinal cord injury.
The term ‘spinal cord injury’ is the broad term used for damage sustained to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system and together with the brain it controls bodily functions including movement and behaviour through nerves which enter and exit the spinal cord at different points to control the various parts of the body. The spinal cord is protected by the bones of the spine and is cushioned by a clear fluid called cerebral spinal fluid. It is a vital link between the brain and the rest of the body – if damaged, sensation and movement may be impaired or completely lost. Damage to the spinal cord can be caused by a trauma like an accident, compression of the nerves, or as a result of infection or disease.
Most spinal cord injuries cause some degree of permanent disability or loss of sensation in parts of the body below the site of injury. The degree of disability depends on the extent of the injury and where along the spinal cord it occurs. Spinal cord injuries can be split into four groups:
There are an estimated 40,000 people in the UK living with a spinal cord injury and each year over 1,000 people are newly injured. A spinal injury is a life-changing event that can impact upon all aspects of an individual’s life from health and medical care, employment and family life to social interaction.
A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at any time, and no one is prepared for how it will affect them. There are a number of charities in the UK – such as Aspire, Backup, BASIC, and Spinal Injuries Association - which through projects and programmes offer practical support to people living with a spinal cord injury.
The Penningtons Manches personal injury and clinical negligence team specialises in helping those who have suffered spinal cord injury, whether as a result of an accident or clinical negligence. The team has a deep understanding of the needs of this condition and the required support for families, having assisted numerous spinal cord injury victims in bringing claims for compensation so that they can lead fulfilled and independent lives.
Members of the team are pleased to support Spinal Cord Injuries Awareness Day in raising the profile of spinal cord injury and the assistance available.