Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating injuries a person can experience. The spine can be damaged in a variety of ways, including sports related injuries, car accidents, falls, disease, or physical assaults. Gunshots are an increasingly common cause of spinal cord injuries.
Surviving and recovering from a spinal cord injury is heavily influenced by where on the spine the injury occurs. Broadly speaking, the spine is divided into four sections, each of which has control of different types of the body. The four types of vertebral nerves are:
- Cervical, which help control the body’s extremities, speech, bowel and bladder control, and have a role in breathing
- Thoracic, which control the upper chest, back, and abdominal muscles
- Lumbar, which control the legs, hips, and are important for bowel and bladder control
- Sacral, which are important for bladder and bowel control, and have some control over the muscles of the lower legs
Of these, injuries to the cervical nerves are usually the most debilitating. In general, the higher the injury occurs up the spinal column, the greater the loss in function. The sacral nerves, which are the lowest, are the least likely to result in significant impairment. Individuals who suffer severe injuries to this area are frequently still able to walk, while individuals who suffer significant trauma to their cervical nerves rarely maintain ambulation.
If you have suffered a significant injury to the spinal cord, physical therapy is likely needed. If the damage was particularly significant, you might need medical and daily living assistance for the rest of your life. The ongoing cost of suffering a spinal cord injury is often higher than other types of traumatic injury, in part because of the need for assistance with daily living skills as well as medical assistance.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, you are well aware how expensive treatment and care can be. Oftentimes these injuries were caused by another, negligent party, either through car accident or assault. If this was the case, it is important you contact an attorney who can help you make the responsible party pay for the damage done.