Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents, slip and fall injuries, assaults, and sport injuries can all lead to spinal cord damage, with vehicle crashes causing nearly half of the new spinal cord injuries that happen each year. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it is important to know the type and location of your injury. These two factors determine the type of limitations that an injured person has, and their prognosis.
Spinal cord injuries are typically categorized by where they occur on the spine and how complete the injury is.
The Location of the Injury
The location of the spinal cord injury determines which parts of your body are impacted. Each part of the spine houses nerves that control different parts of the body. When categorizing an injury, medical professionals will often sort spinal cord injuries into:
- Cervical injuries. The cervical spinal
cord makes up the top seven vertebrae in the spinal cord. Damage to the
cervical spine often has severe consequences for victims, since it is so close
to the brain. Those who suffer a cervical cord spinal injury may suffer from
full paralysis below the neck or shoulder. These injuries can also be fatal.
- Thoracic injuries. Located just below the cervical spine, the thoracic spine is comprised of 12 vertebrae. Injuries to the top part of the thoracic spine often impact the ribcage, lungs, and upper chest. Damage to the lower part often impacts balance, posture, and your ability to cough. Victims may have limited or no use of their legs.
- Lumbar injuries. The five vertebrae below the thoracic spine make up the lumbar spine. This part of the spine bears a substantial amount of weight, so damage can seriously impact a victim’s strength and independence. Victims may lose some Orr all ability to control their legs, bear weight on their legs, maintain sexual function, or control their bowel and bladder.
- Sacral injuries. The five bones that comprise the sacrum control the groin, hips, buttocks, sex organs, bladder, and bowel. Hip and leg function is generally impaired, but walking is possible with assistance or adaptive equipment.
The Severity of the Injury
The other primary factor used to categorize spinal cord injuries is how complete the injury is. Spinal cord injuries are considered either complete or incomplete.
Complete spinal cord injuries are more severe than incomplete injuries. In a complete injury, the spinal cord suffers permanent damage that prevents the brain from communicating with it. When this occurs, every section of the spinal cord below the injured location is also impacted. The higher on the spinal cord the complete injury occurs, the more function the affected individual will lose.
Incomplete injuries occur when the spinal cord is only partially damaged. Damage is further categorized by the American Spinal Injury Association Grading Scale. Grade injuries are complete spinal cord injuries in which a victim loses all sensory function and motor function. B grade injuries impact some sensory function and total motor function. The grades go as far as E, which is normal spine function.
Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries
If you suffered a spine injury caused by someone else’s malice or negligence, it is important that they be held accountable. A spinal cord injury can change the course of your life, requiring ongoing physical therapy, occupational therapy, pain management, nursing care, and adaptive equipment. The process of getting health insurance to pay for extensive medical care can be time-consuming and mentally draining, particularly if someone else is liable for your injuries.
With the help of an attorney, you may be able to seek damages for your medical expenses, future medical costs, lost income, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering. Depending on whether your injury was caused by a car accident, a fall, or another type of accident, there may be multiple liable parties.
Reach Out to Mann & Potter, PC to Find Out if You Can Seek Compensation for Your Spinal Cord Injury A personal injury claim may help you cover the costs associated with your spinal cord injury and prepare for the multitude of ways in which your life will change because of your injury. You need to work with an attorney who knows how to negotiate with insurance companies, fight aggressively for clients, and make a strong case. Take the first step in your spinal cord injury claim now by contacting Mann & Potter, PC. Call us at 205-879-9661 to set up a consultation or message us online to have a representative reach out to yo