Life After Injury: Cauda Equina Syndrome Compensation
Cauda Equina Syndrome: Adjustment, Rehabilitation, and Compensation
Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a rare but serious condition. In the majority of cases, it is caused by a disc herniation in the lower back that causes the Cauda Equina - a bundle of nerves located at the top of the Lumbar Spine - to be compressed. Being responsible for leg movement, the saddle area and bowel and urinary tract function, CES results in acute symptoms that develop quickly and can cause severe problems: lower back pain, numbness in the genital area, incontinence, urine retention and constipation are the most frequently cited.
In the majority of cases, Cauda Equina Syndrome is more of a ‘spinal emergency’ than a traditional spinal cord injury (SCI). This is because the damage is reversible if action is taken quickly. However, there are unfortunately those circumstances where the effects of CES become permanent. These cases are often the result of negligence, delayed surgery or when the decompression surgery itself causes further complications.
The most important thing to consider when adjusting to any traumatic injury is how you approach recovery and adjustment. It is a life-changing experience and the impact that this can have on emotions, lifestyle and relationships is huge. Consequently, this article aims to highlight the importance of coming to terms with and appropriately managing the mental effects of any spinal adjustment period.
Adjusting to Any Spinal Cord Injury Is Hard
Any SCI or CES adjustment is a process and not one singular action. It is a series of steps and experiences that shape how you view your injury. “A sequence over time that ultimately works to get you back to an integrated sense of self.” This sequence is heavily influenced by a person’s beliefs of disability. How you adjust depends on how these beliefs stand up when you test them in relation to the backdrop of your own new reality and disability. Accordingly, every individual's adjustment process will differ greatly and is dependent on individual personas and experiences.
It is important to remember that adjusting to life with a spinal injury or CES involves a network of people; friends, family, partners and a variety of medical professionals who are heavily relied upon and vital to finding, accepting and living with your new normal.
Finding this ‘new normal’ is key to any adjustment process. Rather than straining to see the bigger picture and being distracted by the overbearing question of “will I?,” what is more important is to learn to accept and live with the uncertainty to answer more immediate questions that include “can I?” Leaving these larger questions unanswered, for most, is the more helpful approach. This is because entertaining doubts and buying into negative thoughts can lead to slowing or even halting the process.
When adjusting to spinal cord injury (SCI) or Cauda Equina Syndrome, mindfulness allows individuals to focus on the present and to take each day as it comes, rather than dwelling on what will be eventually somewhere much further down the line. Mind, on their website, has lots of tips and tricks to help people get into and understand the benefits of mindfulness.
Ultimately, where CES adjustment is concerned, more important than the physical processes are the mental and emotional ones. You need to accept that this is a challenging time and you will have to consciously push yourself in order to achieve your optimum level of recovery.
Cauda Equina Syndrome Rehabilitation: Enabling Life After Injury
Following acute recovery, or decompression surgery, rehabilitation works to further stabilise a patient by preventing complications, maximising function and giving a person the necessary skills to reintegrate themselves back into society as confident, empowered and self-directing individuals.
Because every spinal injury is so intricate and unique, the rehabilitation process for each patient also will be unique. Nevertheless, there are similarities and key core milestones that any SCI or CES rehabilitation programme will include, these are as follows:
- Understand the injury sustained and what it means now and for the future.
- Become as functionally independent as possible in activities of daily living (ADLs) .
- Enabling competent wheelchair use if necessary.
- Help adjust and accept a new lifestyle.
- Understand the benefits of personal carers .
- Maintain and return to employment or reintegrate into society via another mode.
For many, spinal rehabilitation can be completely life changing. For example, Beth Kolbe - an American Paralympian swimmer with several golds to her name - prior to her accident had no inclination to swim. Once revelling in the freedom water gave her as part of her rehab process following an S3 incomplete spinal injury, Kolbe professes that her injury and the swimming it brought along with it has in fact enhanced her life:
Kolbe demonstrates that the right attitude and positivity - although anything but easy - are key to any adjustment process. Openness and a willingness to try things can and will see you through your rehabilitation to welcoming and embracing an enabled life after injury.
Cauda Equina Syndrome Compensation Claim
With any spinal cord injury or Cauda Equina Syndrome, the prospect of compensation should be considered. Adjusting to life and living with a disability, unfortunately, does not come cheap and one way to manage these costs is to secure injury compensation.
If your injury was the result of somebody else’s negligence - even if you are partly to blame - then a fair financial settlement for you and your family is synonymous with securing the freedom to maintain a level of independence and enjoy a good standard of living.
Compensation can help to transform life after injury; it pays to adapt homes so they remain accessible, makes access to private rehabilitation available, which can unlock more functional outcomes – including work, purchase specialist equipment to ensure an independent a life as possible is enjoyed.
Making a Spinal Compensation Claim
Making a compensation claim is an easier process than many might think. It starts with a telephone call or an email to Aspire Law.
At Aspire Law we deal with dozens of spinal cord injury claims a year and we have a vast knowledge of the complexities and issues surrounding spinal cord injury claims. You will receive the very highest standard of service and representation available.
Following your initial enquiry with us, we will arrange for you to meet with one of our lawyers. They will hear from you about the circumstances surrounding your injury and they will advise on the various funding arrangements - most claims are funded under a conditional fee, no win no fee, arrangement. Following that, we will investigate your claim in earnest. We shall firstly obtain all the available evidence so that we can consider at an early stage the merits of your claim. We will then advise you following that of the next steps.
We know the legal process can be daunting so we ensure to keep regular contact with you to let you know what is happening with your case and to break down the legal jargon so that you completely understand what is going on.
We are committed to securing for you the very highest level of compensation award and we will manage all aspects of your claim and give practical help for the challenges you will undoubtedly face.
If you want to know more about the claim process, discuss a second opinion or whether you have a case, please get in touch today. Alternatively, watch our recent client stories which give an overview of the service, procedures and way we work here at Aspire law:
Having in-depth knowledge and recent experience in helping people who have sustained spinal cord injury as a result of road traffic accidents, clinical negligence and accidents at work we are best placed to deal with your claim.
We have working relationships with some of the UK’s biggest insurers (who are largely responsible for the compensation paid in these cases). This can prove invaluable in securing co-operation at an early stage when, for example, adaptations are required to an inaccessible property or other monies (interim payments), are needed for equipment such as a wheelchair or an adapted car or indeed simply an income to enable you to pay the mortgage and household bills.
Unlike other law firms, we also have available the significant resources of Aspire (the charity). They can advise on housing, benefits, work and the like and offer a number of services such as grants, assistive technology and adapted homes. These additional facilities ensure you have the very widest choice of help/support available.
At Aspire Law, we have even settled many claims where our client was partly to blame for their accident. If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury please get in touch, we really could transform your life.