Challenges of Spinal Pain

Comments from Another Spinal Injury Victim – He’s up against same thing as I… maybe worse…

No one dies from pain. However, some injuries like large burns or spinal cord damage cause pain so severe that the body reacts with cardiac arrest or the brain simply shuts down in overload. It’s one of the main reasons a patient is deliberately put into a medically induced coma to even survive long enough to diagnose or treat an injury.

I was a passenger in a car accident where the roof collapsed on my left shoulder as my head and right arm broke through the door’s window. The forces pulling opposite directions resulted in all the nerve roots to my left arm being yanked out of my spinal cord.

The instant I woke I began screaming like I never had in my entire life. A nurse was at my side in seconds as I tried to explain what my left arm was feeling and she knew that the pain I felt could only be a paralyzed left arm.

I finally got out of the hospital and sat down with my doctor to discuss my immediate future. First of all, my left arm would never work again and the pain would never go away, though it would transition into a crushing feeling rather than the burning I currently felt.

He then told me that 50% of people with this injury die within five years. The other 50% die within twenty years. I thought I understood exactly what he meant at the time because I had begun contemplating suicide within the first moments after I woke up, and it has never been far out of mind since.