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Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

by The Beasley Firm  |  June 29, 2023  |  

Different Types of Spine Injuries

Spine injuries are some of the most serious types of injuries, and they can result in long-term damages. Not everyone knows the types of injuries that occur, as well as the locations of the injuries and what they mean. Here is a quick guide on some of the types of spine injuries and what damages may arise.

Cervical Vertebrae

The cervical vertebrae are located in the neck area and are responsible for protecting the spinal cord. Injuries to these vertebrae are the most severe form of spine injury and can result in tetraplegia (quadriplegia). This means the injured person may lose mobility below the neck/shoulders. Cervical spine injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Thoracic Vertebrae

The thoracic vertebrae are located in the middle back and are responsible for protecting the chest and abdominal organs. Injuries to these vertebrae can impact the abdominal and lower back muscles, resulting in paraplegia. This means that the person may lose mobility below the waist. However, arm and hand function may remain normal.

Lumbar Vertebrae

The lumbar vertebrae are located in the lower back and are responsible for supporting the weight of the upper body. Injuries to these vertebrae can cause loss of function in hips and legs, and bowel and bladder control problems. The severity of the injury depends on the location and extent of damage. A wheelchair may be needed, depending on leg strength.

Sacrum Injuries

The sacrum is a triangular bone located between the hip bones and at the base of the spine. Injuries to the sacrum can result in some loss of hip and leg functions. However, most individuals who sustain sacral spinal cord injuries may still be able to walk.

Who Is at Risk of Spinal Cord Injuries?

Spinal cord injuries are generally the result of a sudden impact. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, car crashes and catastrophic falls are the leading causes of spinal cord injuries in the country. Other common causes include acts of violence such as gunshot wounds, sports injuries, and medical injuries. 

Things like your age, alcohol intake, overall health, and failing to wear protective gear can all increase your risk of sustaining a spinal cord injury. However, it is essential to note that spinal cord injuries can and do happen to anyone at any age. Obtaining a prompt and accurate diagnosis for your injuries is often pivotal in ensuring you receive the best possible care and treatment.

Spinal Cord Injury Diagnosis and Treatment

A spinal cord injury should be diagnosed by a medical professional. First, they may complete a physical examination to determine the severity of the injury, including whether you have a loss of movement or paralysis. The doctor may then order a diagnostic test to confirm the diagnosis. 

Diagnostic tests a doctor may perform to confirm a spinal cord injury: 

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • X-Ray

Spinal cord injuries require that a person is immobilized to prevent additional harm. A doctor may treat your condition by using a brace to stabilize your spine or surgery. It is critical that treatment for a spinal cord injury start immediately to reduce the risk of potential complications, including trouble breathing, pneumonia, and loss of bladder or bowel control.

Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

A complete spinal cord injury occurs when there is permanent damage done. This means that a person may experience a loss of motor function below the area that is damaged. Complete spinal cord injuries may result in paraplegia or tetraplegia, depending on where the injury occurs.

An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when a person retains some level of sensation or motor function below the injury point. There is only partial damage done to the spinal cord, and it is still able to convey messages to and from the brain. 

Searching for an Injury Attorney?

At The Beasley Firm, we recognize the lifelong expenses that are associated with serious spine injuries. Our Philadelphia catastrophic injury lawyers work hard to help injury victims understand their rights and pursue the compensation they need.

To discuss your potential case, call our firm today.

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