What Are Common Types of Spinal Cord Injury?

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The spinal cord is a tight bundle of nerves that acts as a two-way highway for signals traveling to and from the brain and the rest of the body.

The spine starts at the base of the skull from the brain and extends down through the lower back. It is protected by interlocking bones called vertebrae that allow for movement.

Damage to this bundle of nerves or the surrounding tissue is called a spinal cord injury. Changes or loss of sensation, strength, voluntary movement, and normal body functions can occur below the location of an injury and are either temporary or permanent.

A doctor in his clinic holding up a model of the human backbone and pointing at one of the discs.

Spinal cord injuries are classified according to their location and as complete or incomplete. The types of spinal cord injuries are as follows:

  • Cervical – neck
  • Thoracic – upper back
  • Lumbar – lower back
  • Sacral – base of the spine, in the pelvis

Damage to the spinal cord causes problems below the site of the injury, so the higher the injury, the more devastating the damage.

Damage to the cervical spinal cord is anything in the neck. These injuries typically cause the loss of sensation and function in both arms and legs, which is referred to as quadriplegia.

Injuries in the thoracic region of the spine cause paraplegia, meaning paralysis from the chest downward, including the loss of use of the legs.

Injuries to the lumbar and sacral regions will also often cause paraplegia or the loss of function in both hips and legs.

There are also two types of injury to the spinal cord:

  • Complete
  • Incomplete

A spinal cord injury is classified as complete when there is a total loss of function below the site of the injury. Loss of function means there is a loss of voluntary movement and sensation.

When a spinal cord injury is considered incomplete, there is still some function below the level of the injury. These injuries vary in severity and location of their effects.

Some people lose function in one leg but not the other or can feel sensations but not be able to move. Incomplete injuries are becoming more common as advancements are made in the acute treatment of spinal cord injuries, according to the Shepherd Center.

Most Common Cause of Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the most common cause of spinal cord injury is a tie between motor vehicle accidents and catastrophic falls. Other common causes of spinal cord injuries are as follows:

  • Gunshot Wounds
  • Assault
  • Sports Injuries
  • Surgical Injuries
  • Industrial Accidents
  • Diseases
  • Conditions That Cause Damage To The Spinal Cord or Surrounding Tissue or Bones

Risk Factors for Spinal Cord Injuries

Catastrophic falls typically involve people between the ages of 16 and 30 or over 65. Other risk factors include the use of alcohol, not using proper safety equipment such as seatbelts or supportive sports equipment, and certain diseases that may or may not be genetic.

Damage to the spinal cord has the potential to completely change a person’s life in an instant. Even the most mundane tasks become challenges, and victims may have to struggle with everyday activities for the rest of their lives if the damage is permanent.

Injuries involving the spinal cord are never expected but are more common than most people imagine, given the severity of the consequences.

Motor vehicle accidents falls, and medical malpractice happen every day and often result in spinal cord damage. The devastating effects of these injuries drastically affect every aspect of the victim’s life and reach their families and loved ones as well, no matter what caused the tragedy.

At Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters, our personal injury lawyers have a special understanding of spinal cord injuries and are ready to fight on behalf of victims to ensure they receive full compensation. We hold negligent parties accountable for the injustice they have caused our clients.

If you or someone you love has suffered from a spinal cord injury, contact us today at (800) LAW-0804

What Are Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?

Symptoms of spinal cord injury include paralysis, numbness, tingling, reduced coordination, loss of bowel or bladder control, and pain. Any trauma that cuts, compresses, pushes, or pulls your spinal cord has the potential to permanently injure the cord.

When someone is suspected of having a traumatic spinal cord injury, the spine must be stabilized as soon as possible to prevent further injury. Damage is detected by diagnostic imaging involving any combination of X-rays, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Other disorders and diseases can also cause spinal cord injuries. Problems such as tumors pressing against the spine, blood clots, abscesses, and severe osteoporosis are all examples of non-traumatic causes of spinal damage.

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries

Depending on the type and location of the injury, some patients need to continue to wear immobilization devices for quite some time. These can include back or neck braces or even a halo device.

Other patients may need stabilization from surgery. The surgeon will implant internal fixation using rods, pins, or plates with screws.

What Is the Cure for Spinal Cord Injuries?

There is currently no known cure for spinal cord injuries. There have been many advancements in treatments and therapies, and researchers are still working on finding even better ways to treat spinal cord injuries as they continue their search for a cure.

So far, the best treatments developed for spinal cord injuries involve decreasing the amount of damage at the time of the injury. Swelling is a common cause of secondary injury to the spine when the initial injury occurs.

Medications, such as methylprednisolone, have been found to reduce swelling and inflammation at the site of the injury.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Will Help With Your Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord damage causes some of the most devastating injuries imaginable. Many people lose their autonomy and require care from others for the rest of their lives.

Victims and their families often feel overwhelmed, isolated, stressed, frustrated, and confused about what to do next to be able to continue with their lives. Personal injury attorneys help by ensuring victims receive full compensation for their injuries, so they can receive the treatment, equipment, and care that they need.

By hiring Tatum & Atkinson, you will have a lawyer who is fully invested in your case. They will ensure a full investigation into the accident that caused your injury, collecting evidence to prove negligence and building a strong case using medical evaluations, police reports, and witness statements.

The lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson are experienced and will help you determine an accurate assessment of the damages you have suffered.

Spinal cord injuries affect every aspect of your life, including your finances. You should not have to worry about being able to afford your treatment, medications, special equipment, or other care that you need as a result of someone else’s negligent actions.

Our personal injury lawyers will make sure your compensation is enough to cover everything you need.

You should not have to fight for what you are legally entitled to receive, especially while you are in recovery. Tatum & Atkinson are aggressive and will not stop fighting on your behalf until you recover everything that is rightfully yours.

For a free consultation about your case, call (800) LAW-0804 today to get your process started.

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