Accidents occur every day, in every state, county, city and town in our country. While many accidents do not result in death or serious injury, other accidents dramatically affect victims for the remainder of their lives. Spinal Cord Injuries may result from a variety of accident types – auto, construction site, slip and fall, and others.
The spinal cord has many nerve fibers that serve as the messenger system for the human body, delivering commands from the brain to different parts of the body. The spinal cord (and therefore the series of nerves that comprise the spinal cord) travel through the spinal column, which is divided into four sections: the cervical region, or neck area; the thoracic area, or midsection of the spine; the lumbar area, or lower back, and; the sacral area, or tailbone.
Damage to the spinal cord can result from traumatic injury, disease, or simply from the aging process. Each spinal cord injury, however, is different. In most spinal cord injuries, the backbone pinches the spinal cord, causing it to become bruised or swollen. Sometimes the injury may tear the spinal cord and/or its nerve fibers. An infection or a disease can result in similar damage. After a spinal cord injury, all the nerves above the level of injury keep working like they always have. From the point of injury and below, the spinal cord nerves cannot send messages between the brain and parts of the body like they did before the injury.
The level of injury for a person with Spinal Cord Injury is the lowest point on the spinal cord below which there is a decrease or absence of feeling (the sensory level) and/or movement (the motor level). The higher the spinal cord injury is on the vertebral column, or the closer it is to the brain, the more effect it has on how the body moves and what the injury victim can feel:
Quadriplegia (also known as Tetraplegia) generally describes the condition of a person with a spinal cord injury that is at a level from C1 to T1. This type of injury often results in a loss of feeling and/or movement in the head, neck, shoulder, arms and/or upper chest.
Paraplegia is the general term describing the condition of a person who has lost feeling and/or is not able to move the lower parts of his/her body. The body parts that may be affected are the chest, stomach, hips, legs and feet. An individual with a level of injury from T2 to S5 has paraplegia.
An attorney can help “level the playing field” by providing spinal cord injury victims with information regarding the practical and legal aspects of personal injury law.
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