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Why the location of a spinal cord injury matters

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2023 | Injuries

All spinal cord injuries can be very serious and can result in major ramifications for the rest of a person’s life. It is true that there are new treatments all the time and that recovery is possible in some cases. But there are also many cases where damage is permanent, leading to a lifelong disability.

The spinal cord is a very fragile part of the human body. In the spinal canal, there are nerves connecting the brain to a person’s extremities and the rest of their body. These nerves carry sensations and allow for the control of limbs and other functions. When they are damaged or severed, the injury can lead to paralysis. Some injuries are complete, meaning that all feeling has been lost, while other injuries are incomplete, and some feeling still remains.

Below the level of the injury

The reason that the specific location of a spinal cord injury is so consequential is that loss of sensation and function occur below the point where the injury took place. This can drastically affect the way that it impacts a person’s life and the type of medical care that they need. For example, if someone suffers a spinal cord injury near their neck, close to the point where the spinal cord attaches to the skull and the brainstem, then they may have a complete loss of function from the head down. This could mean that they need lifelong care and no longer have the ability to work.

But if someone suffers a spinal cord injury around their waist, they may “only” lose sensation in their legs. This can still have a drastic impact on a person’s life. It may mean that they can’t return to their profession, they need an increased level of care, they are confined to a wheelchair, etc. But someone who has retained function in their arms navigates a very different situation than someone who has not.

Seeking financial compensation

In many cases, such as car accidents or workplace accidents, someone suffers a serious injury like this because of the actions or inactions of another party. When this happens, the injured person may be entitled to seek financial compensation to cover their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.