An injury to the spinal cord can be life-altering. Damage to the spinal cord caused by a car wreck, slip, and fall, workplace accident, assault, or other accident can require months or even years of rehabilitation and recovery time.
What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries are often the result of a blow or hit to the spine. Broken or dislocated bones, called vertebrae, can also be damaged, broken, or swell, intensifying a spinal cord injury.
Nerve cells can also be damaged; these are the cells that communicate with the brain and are responsible for movement throughout the body. A serious spinal cord injury can cause complete or partial loss of movement (paralysis) and feeling.
What Are The Different Types Of Spinal Cord Injuries?
An injury to the bones in the spine can cause a number of problems, including:
- Collapsed disc
- Disc disease
- Disc protrusion
- Pinched nerve
- Ruptured disc
- Slipped disc
- Torn disc
Types And Levels Of Spinal Cord Injury
There are four sections of the spinal cord: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Each section of the spine protects different groups of nerves that control the body. The types and severity of spinal cord injuries can depend on the section of the spine that is injured:
- Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries
The head and neck region above the shoulders are affected by cervical spinal cord injuries
- Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries
The upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal muscles are affected by injuries to the thoracic spinal cord
- Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries
The hips and legs are affected by lumbar spinal cord injuries
- Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries
The hips, back of the thighs, buttocks, and pelvic organs are affected by injuries to the sacral spinal cord.
Types Of Paralysis That May Occur Following A Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries are categorized by the part of the spinal cord affected:
- Quadriplegia (also referred to as tetraplegia) results from injuries to the upper section of the spinal cord. It causes loss of motor and sensory function in both the legs and the arms, as well as the trunk of the body.
- Paraplegia comes from injuries to the lower parts of the spinal cord. Someone with paraplegia has paralysis in the lower portion of their body but can still use their arms and hands.
- Quadriplegia and paraplegia can be complete (total loss of motor and sensory function below the level of injury) or incomplete (some function remains below the level of injury).
Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Following a spinal cord injury, you will likely need treatment from various rehabilitation specialists including:
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Speech and language pathologist
- Vocational rehabilitation counselor
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R or physiatrist)
- Social worker
- Rehabilitation nurse
Signs And Symptoms Of A Spinal Cord Injury?
- Intermittent or chronic pain
- Loss of feeling or sensation
- Difficulty moving
- Respiratory or breathing problems
- Muscle weakness
- Spastic muscles
- Heart rate problems
- Blood pressure problems
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Sexual dysfunction
- Digestive problems
How Can A Houston Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Help Me?
Accidents involving spinal cord damage require extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and the nervous system. This knowledge can only be gained through experience. At Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, our lawyers include a former medical malpractice defense lawyer that represented numerous medical specialties that treated the spine. This background has given us the medical background and knowledge needed to successfully understand and pursue an accident involving a spinal cord injury.