What Are the Levels of Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and lead to significant disabilities for victims. However, not all spinal cord injuries are the same. There are various ways that a person can sustain a spinal cord injury, and there are also different levels of these types of injuries. Here, our personal injury attorneys in Nashville look at the different levels of spinal cord injuries as well as discuss why you need an attorney to help secure compensation in these situations.

Complete or Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

When we are looking at spinal cord injuries, there are several factors that we need to examine. Perhaps the most important definition to understand is whether or not a spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete.

  • Complete spinal cord injury These injuries cause permanent damage to the area of the spinal cord that is affected and will likely cut off all signals coming from the brain to the rest of the body below the area of the injury. Paraplegia and tetraplegia are the results of a complete spinal cord injury.
  • Incomplete spinal cord injury These injuries refer to partial damage of the spinal cord. A person’s ability to move and how much feeling they have depends on the area of the spine injured and the overall severity of the injury. Outcomes for the patient will depend on their overall health, medical history, and effectiveness of the treatment.

The Levels of Spinal Cord Injuries

When we move beyond looking at complete and incomplete injuries, we have to look at the four sections of the spinal cord – cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral. Every section of the spine protects different groups of nerves that control every aspect of our bodies. The severity of a spinal cord injury can depend on what section of the spine is injured.

  • Cervical spine Injuries to this area of the spine occur in the head and neck region above the shoulders. When the cervical spinal cord is injured, this can lead to a person experiencing symptoms throughout their entire body.
  • Thoracic spineInjuries to this area of the spine affect the mid-back, upper chest, and abdominal muscles. Injuries that affect this area will often leave victims with the ability to use their arms and hands normally.
  • Lumbar spineInjuries to this area of the spine affect the hips and legs. Individuals who sustain a lumbar spinal cord injury may need a wheelchair, or they may need to use braces to walk.
  • Sacral spineInjuries to this area of the spine can affect the hips, back of the thighs, pelvic organs, and buttocks. Individuals who sustain a sacral spinal cord injury will likely be able to continue to walk but could experience various other debilitating symptoms.

How These Injuries Occur

Data presented by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) shows us that there are around 18,000 new spinal cord injuries that occur each year in this country. Some of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries include vehicle accidents, falls, intentional violence, sports injuries, and medical mistakes. Any person who sustains a spinal cord injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of someone else should be able to recover compensation for their losses. A skilled Nashville spinal cord injury lawyer will be able to examine the facts of your case and help you recover maximum compensation for your losses. These cases can become incredibly complex, particularly when working to gather the evidence needed to prove liability. Do not try to tackle these cases alone. Let an attorney help you.