The spinal cord provides a crucial link between the brain and the body. It relays the motor commands that allow the brain to control the body’s movements and other functions, and it also transmits sensory information like touch or pain back to the brain. Because communication between the body and brain is vitally important, the effects of a spinal cord injury can be devastating.
Causes and Effects of Spinal Cord Injury
In most cases, spinal cord injuries are the result of trauma to the back or neck. They often occur upon sudden impact in situations like car crashes or sports accidents, which can break or displace the bones of the spine and cause them to put pressure on the delicate nerve fibers of the spinal cord. This can disrupt the flow of information between the brain and the portion of the body below the injury.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury may include numbness, tingling, weakness or paralysis in body parts below the injury site. In some cases, bodily functions like blood pressure, bladder and bowel control, sexual function or temperature regulation also may be affected. In some cases, the symptoms of a spinal cord injury may improve over time, while in others the damage is permanent.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Paralysis is one of the symptoms most commonly associated with spinal cord injuries, and it comes in two major forms. When an injury is low on the spine, it may lead to a condition known as paraplegia, or paralysis of the legs. When the upper spine is injured, it may cause quadriplegia, or paralysis of all four limbs.
Spinal cord injuries are also classified as either complete or incomplete, depending on the amount of sensation and control remaining below the injury site. A person who has no feeling or movement below the injured portion of the spine is said to have a complete spinal cord injury, while someone who retains some amount of sensation or motor control in those areas has an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Financial Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries
People who experience symptoms of a spinal cord injury after a car crash or other accident that may have been caused by someone else’s negligence should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the possibility of seeking financial compensation for their injuries, medical bills and rehabilitation costs.