It is only natural for a person to take an injury more seriously if they can see its impact, but sight alone is not always a good indication of severity.
While injuries involving blood and bruising can obviously be serious, there are plenty of examples where the injury is invisible but potentially life changing.
Our serious and catastrophic team have dealt with countless cases involving unseen injuries that have had a terrible impact on a person’s life and the lives of their family and friends. As personal injury specialists there are two particular conditions that we see more often, concussion and cauda equina.
Any impact on the head and brain is potentially disastrous. It doesn’t have to involve a loss of consciousness. Even a mild concussion with few outward warning signs and symptoms can escalate if not taken seriously. Especially if a secondary concussion occurs before the head and brain have had time to recover.
The seriousness of repeated concussion on medium to long term health is only now being talked about. Head injury charities (such as Headway and HIP in Cheshire) have highlighted the issue within contact sport, like rugby and football. And the governing bodies for contact sports have run a number of grassroots campaigns to help diagnose a concussion and ensure that the impacted player stays off the pitch.
There has even been a 2015 Hollywood film called ‘Concussion’ – starring Will Smith – based on the true story of Dr Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (a brain condition associated with repeated blows to the head) in pro-American Football players.
Serious complications can develop days and even weeks after a seemingly minor head injury. The injured person can act normal for long periods of time and may well have been checked by a doctor.
If you, a family member or friends has had a head collision then it is important to keep a lookout for the following symptoms:
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Bleeding or discharge from the ears
- Unable to wake up
- Hearing issues
- Communication problems
- Deteriorating eyesight (e.g. blurred or double vision)
- Severe headaches
If a person shows any sign of these symptoms then they need to go to hospital for a CT scan to check for a possible brain haemorrhage (bleeding) or swelling of the brain.
For more information about minor head injuries and concussion the brain injury charity, Headway, has produced an excellent booklet – click here to view.
Cauda equina syndrome
Not everyone takes back pain seriously and in the majority of cases it will just be a short term condition associated with posture or general wear and tear. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss any back discomfort, pain or stiffness.
We know from experience that ignoring back pain until it is too late can have life-changing consequences. Lower back pain can be a symptom of cauda equina syndrome (CES).
CES is caused by pressure and swelling on the spinal cord nerves. The pressure on the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord stops the nerves from working properly. It is a rare disorder but if it is not treated quickly – there is normally a window of up to 48 hours – it can cause permanent nerve damage. If an effective treatment is not administered quickly there is increased risk of long-term bladder, bowel, mobility and sexual problems.
The symptoms of CES can occasionally start slowly but it is usual for the symptoms to develop suddenly and progress quickly. Symptoms can include one or more of the following:
- Lower back pain
- Bowel problems (e.g. constipation)
- Bladder function issues (e.g. unable to pass urine)
- Sexual problems can occur (e.g. impotence in men)
- Numbness or reduced sensation in the saddle area (around the anus)
- Weakness, reflex change, motor or sensory loss in one or both legs
Experience in serious and catastrophic injury
As well as taking back ache seriously, the same applies to taking your legal rights seriously. If the back condition is the result of an accident, collision or negligence find out where you stand when it comes to compensation – it could make a huge difference to your recovery and future quality of life. You may believe you are partly to blame for your own injury but your medical needs could change and you should ask a solicitor about your legal situation.
A specialist and experienced personal injury lawyer will provide free, initial advice with no obligations. Birchall Blackburn Law’s injury solicitors offer this free service, so make the most of it and give our experts a call. You may have grounds for a compensation claim after an injury.
With over 100 years of combined experience in serious and catastrophic law, our special serious injury solicitors are just a phone call away. You can reach them on 0800 988 1548, or feel free to take a look at more information here.