Mayo Clinic states that a spinal cord injury (SCI) is any damage caused to the spinal cord itself or the bones or tissues surrounding it. An SCI may include fractured or shifted vertebrae, damage to the nerve structures at any place in the spine, a full or partial tear of the spinal cord, or anything in between.
Suffering an SCI can result in minor, treatable damage or catastrophic damage that results in paralysis of portions of the body. It all depends on how severe the impact was that caused the accident.
Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is meant to send signals to and from the brain to other parts of the body, including all limbs and extremities, organs, and muscles. When the spinal cord suffers an injury, these signals can be permanently or temporarily blocked.
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries:
A complete spinal cord injury results in permanent, total paralysis, or loss of function, in areas of the body below where the injury occurred. This paralysis typically impacts both sides of the body, as well.
An incomplete spinal cord injury results in partial paralysis in some parts of the body near the sight of injury. The location and extent of paralysis depends on where the injury occurred and how severe it was. The patient’s ability to regain motor function and other usability in these sights depends on treatment and recovery.
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Levels of Spinal Cord Injuries
The journal Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research states that the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) classifies different spinal cord injuries using the following scale:
- ASIA A: This grade is used for spinal cord injuries that are complete, and there is no feeling or motor function in the areas below where the injury took place.
- ASIA B: This grade is used for SCIs that are incomplete, resulting in feeling in some or all areas connected to the injured area of the spinal cord but no motor function.
- ASIA C: This grade is used for incomplete SCIs where the patient has some motor function and full range of motion in less than half of the major muscle groups in the impacted area.
- ASIA D: This grade is used for incomplete SCIs resulting in full range of motion in more than half the major muscle groups in the impacted area.
- ASIA E: This grade is used for SCIs that resulted in fully restored motor function, normal range of motion, and feeling in the impacted area.
Types of Paralysis Caused by Spinal Cord Injuries
Where your SCI occurs (and its severity) can determine the level of paralysis a patient may experience. Two types of paralysis can result from an SCI:
- Tetraplegia: Also referred to as quadriplegia, this occurs when the limbs and organs in your upper body lose feeling and/or motor function.
- Paraplegia: This occurs when all areas of your upper and your lower body lose feeling and/or motor function.
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Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Mayo Clinic affirms that some of the most common symptoms that can occur with spinal cord injuries include:
- Numbness or complete loss of feeling
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Loss of range of motion or loss of movement
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Back, neck, or hip pain
- Balance issues
Treating Spinal Cord Injuries
The types, amount, and duration of treatment for an SCI depends on the severity and location of the injury. Some common forms of treatment include:
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Pain medication
- Assistive medical equipment, like braces and wheelchairs
- Home nursing care
Whether you need minor or significant treatment, recovering from a spinal cord injury can be costly. Treatment can occur over multiple years, making it even more expensive in the future. Plus, your symptoms or injury may worsen as you get older, resulting in other conditions, like spinal stenosis.
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Recover Compensation for Your Spinal Cord Injury
Suppose you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident, slip and fall incident, or other traumatic event. In that case, you likely don’t know how much your medical bills, lost wages, and other economic and non-economic damages will be years from your accident.
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins Today About About Spinal Cord Injury Damages
The Texas spinal cord injury lawyers at Loncar Lyon Jenkins have helped multiple clients recover thousands of dollars in compensation from accidents that caused minor and life-altering spinal cord injuries.
Knowing which spinal cord injuries exist (and their symptoms) can better prepare you for meetings with your spinal cord injury attorney. We can represent you in negotiations and court proceedings. We are ready to fight for you and help recover much-needed compensation for your SCI. Contact us today to get a free case review. Call us or fill out the online form.