Posted in Spinal Cord Injury on October 23, 2023
Spinal cord injuries can have significant long-term impacts on a victim. However, there are various levels of spinal cord injury that a person can sustain that can affect their long-term prognosis. Here, we want to review the levels of spinal cord injuries as well as how these incidents occur.
Incomplete Versus Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
When defining spinal cord injuries, it is important first to look at whether the injury was considered “incomplete” or “complete.”
- Incomplete spinal cord injury. Information from the Shephard Center indicates that an incomplete spinal cord injury is one that does not completely sever the spinal cord at the site of the injury. This can partially impede the spinal cord or lead to severe bruising in that area but does not sever the spinal cord all the way. There are varying effects associated with incomplete spinal cord injuries, ranging from nearly complete paralysis to that person having almost a complete recovery.
- Complete spinal cord injury. A complete spinal cord injury is one that severs the spinal cord all the way through, at the site of the injury. Individuals who sustain their complete spinal cord injury will experience paralysis from the site of the injury downward.
Quadriplegia Versus Paraplegia
When a person is considered quadriplegic, this means that they suffer from paralysis of all of their limbs and the body from the neck down. Individuals who are considered paraplegic typically lose the ability to control the lower half of their body, including their legs.
There are four different levels of the spinal cord that we want to discuss concerning spinal cord injuries. This includes the cervical spinal cord, thoracic spinal cord, lumbar spinal cord, and sacral spinal cord. Injuries to the cervical spinal cord area are the most severe type of spinal cord injury that can occur, and a complete cervical spinal cord injury will likely lead to death or complete paralysis.
Injuries to the thoracic spinal cord area can affect the upper chest, abdominal muscles, and mid-back. Individuals who sustain complete spinal cord injuries in this area often have normal hand and arm function. Injuries to the lumbar region of the spine will typically affect the hips and legs, and individuals with these injuries may need a wheelchair, but some can walk with braces.
Sacral spinal cord injuries typically affect the back, thighs, hips, buttocks, and pelvic region, but individuals will typically be able to walk with this level of spinal cord injury.
Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Trauma
Information presented by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) shows that the majority of spinal cord injuries that have occurred across the US since 2015 were caused by the following:
- Vehicle accidents – 38.6%
- Falls – 32.2%
- Violence – 14%
- Sports incidents – 7.8%
- Medical or surgical mistakes – 4.2%
If you or somebody you care about has sustained a spinal cord injury caused by the negligent actions of another party, you need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. These injuries can lead to significant lifelong consequences, and individuals deserve compensation for their losses. When you work with a skilled spinal cord injury lawyer in Long Beach, you will have an advocate ready to stand by your side throughout the entire claim. This includes conducting an investigation into the incident, determining liability, and handling communication and negotiations with other parties.