Spinal cord injuries or SCIs can have different outcomes depending on the location and severity of the injury. All spinal cord injuries should be taken seriously; however, some have much more lasting and long-term impacts on daily life than others.
Spinal Cord Basics
The spinal cord is a long column of nerve tissue that runs through the 31 vertebrae that make up the spinal column. The spinal cord is the most important conduit in the body in moving nerve impulses to the brain, and any injury at any point can cause serious, permanent conditions. Spinal cord injuries frequently occur in car accidents, slip and falls, and other types of traumatic events.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be divided into two categories: complete and incomplete. From there, the different types of injuries can be further subdivided into categories based on the location and extensiveness of the injury.
Complete spinal cord injuries are the most serious types of SCIs. They involve a break in the nerve pathway between parts of the body and the brain. For complete SCIs occurring in the lower part of the body, paraplegia, or loss of use of the legs, may occur, while the upper part of the body retains its ability to function. Tetraplegia or quadriplegia occurs when there is a complete SCI in the upper part of the spinal column, affecting the entire spinal cord.
Incomplete SCIs, which are more common than complete SCIs, occur when part of the spinal cord is damaged or compressed, but still retains some ability to function. However, there can still be serious and life-altering complications as a result of an incomplete SCI. Some examples of these complications include:
- Central cord syndrome. When a victim takes a sharp blow to the center of the back during an accident, he or she may develop a condition known as central cord syndrome. This means that nerves have been damaged that carry signals that affect fine motor skills, bladder function, or sexual function. While the victim may still be able to walk and talk, he or she may have trouble grasping objects or may become incontinent or impotent as a result of the injury.
- Anterior cord syndrome. Anterior refers to the front of the spinal cord, and injuries of this type often affect movement while allowing the victim to retain sensation in the limbs and other parts of the body. These types of injuries often result in prolonged pain or discomfort and can be debilitating, even if the victim is able to move independently.
- Brown-Sequard syndrome. When the spinal cord is damaged on one side or the other, Brown-Sequard syndrome may result. This means that the victim may suffer loss of feeling or movement only on one side of the body. This can lead to problems with walking, sitting, or lying down, and can cause life-long issues with pain management and basic skills.
At Barber and Associates, we have been working with victims of spinal injuries for years and focus our attention on recovering compensation for our clients. Call us today to learn more about how we can work with you, no matter what type of spinal injury you have, to ensure that you receive justice for your pain, suffering, and loss of mobility.