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When Can Spinal Cord Injuries Lead to Partial or Total Paralysis?

Posted on in Personal Injury

CT injury lawyerThe spinal cord is one of the body’s most important systems. This bundle of nerves, which runs through the vertebrae in the backbone, transmits information to and from the brain and most of the rest of the body. Any issues that disrupt these signals can affect a person’s ability to move or feel sensations in different parts of their body. Because of this, spinal cord injuries can be very serious and depending on the location and severity of an injury, a person may suffer permanent disabilities.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spinal cord may be complete or incomplete. Fractured vertebrae, herniated discs in the spine, or other issues that damage the spinal cord may result in incomplete spinal cord injuries. These injuries will usually involve the loss of some function, but a person may not suffer complete paralysis. Complete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, will involve severe damage to the spinal cord, including cases where the spinal cord is completely severed. These injuries will often involve total paralysis. While surgery or other forms of treatment may help minimize future harm, damage to the spinal cord is often irreversible.

The parts of the body affected by a spinal cord injury will depend on the level of the spine where the injury occurred. Injuries are classified into four general types based on the vertebrae where the spinal cord was damaged:

  • Cervical - The vertebrae in the neck are known as C1 to C8, and damage to the spinal cord at this level will often result in quadriplegia or tetraplegia. In these cases, a person may be paralyzed below the neck and lose all ability to control their arms, legs, and torso. In some cases, a person may no longer be able to breathe on their own, and they may require the use of a ventilator.
  • Thoracic - The vertebrae in the chest and rib cage area are known as T1 to T12, and spinal cord injuries at this level may experience paraplegia, in which they suffer paralysis in the legs and lower body. In some cases, a person’s ability to control their chest and torso may be affected, but they will usually retain the ability to move their arms and hands.
  • Lumbar - The vertebrae in the lower back are known as L1 to L5, and injuries to the spinal cord at this level will often result in the loss of some function in the legs and lower body. A person may still be able to walk with assistance, but they may be unable to fully control their bowels and bladder.
  • Sacral - The vertebrae in the lowest level of the spine are known as S1 to S5, and damage to the spinal cord in this area may affect the hips and groin. A person may lose some function in their hips and legs, and they may experience issues with their bowels, bladder, and sexual organs.

Contact Our Connecticut Spine Injury Attorneys

Injuries to the spine can occur in many different situations, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and construction site accidents. The attorneys of Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC provide representation for victims who suffered injuries that were caused by other people’s negligence, and we work to ensure that our clients are fully compensated for their damages. To arrange a free consultation and learn how we can help with your case, contact our Greenwich spinal cord injury lawyers today at 203-661-6000.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-cord-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20377890

https://www.shepherd.org/patient-programs/spinal-cord-injury/levels-and-types

https://www.christopherreeve.org/living-with-paralysis/health/causes-of-paralysis/spinal-cord-injury

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