Spinal Cord Injury
An injury to the spinal cord can occur in car or truck accidents, falls from a ladder, sports injuries, injuries at the workplace, including construction and other traumatic causes. Even a minor blow to the spinal cord can cause weakness and narrowing of the spinal column. A direct injury to the spinal cord cannot only cause extreme pain, but also paralysis of varying degrees.
The spinal cord is made up of three distinct areas. The high-cervical nerves, C-1 to C-4 are housed in those vertebrae of the spine. The most severe of the spinal cord injuries and dysfunctions occur at those levels. A spinal cord injury at the high-cervical nerves can result in paralysis of the arms, hands, trunk and the legs. An injury at that high cervical level may lead to breathing issues, bladder and bowel control limitations, speech impairment and the need for assistance for daily living. A person suffering an injury to this area of the spine is devastating and most likely will require 24-hour a day care.
Low-cervical nerves are found at C-5 to C-8. A person suffering an injury to the area of the cervical spine at C-5 will likely be left with total paralysis to the arms, hands, trunk and legs. Injury the cervical spine at the lower levels, C-6 to C-8 will cause paralysis as well. These nerves control movements of the limbs for the most part. An injury to the nerves located at C-6 to C-8 is terrible in that it limits a person’s ability to control the limbs, control bowel and bladder, but at a minimum may be able to manage their own special needs equipment.
The thoracic vertebrae are in the mid-back. They include the location of the thoracic nerves T-1 to T-12. These nerves control the muscles of the upper chest, mid-back and abdomen. Injuries to the thoracic nerves most likely affect the trunk and legs for the most part and lead to paralysis of the lower body. The thoracic nerves are usually divided by the area of nerves at T-1 to T-5 and T-6 to T-12.
Below the thoracic nerves of the spine are the lumbar nerves, L-1 to L-5. Injuries to these nerves effect function of the hips and legs. Lumbar spine injuries result in loss of voluntary control of the bladder and bower. The last level of the spine and its nerves is the sacral nerves, S- to S-5. Injuries to this area of the spine can result in the loss of function of the hips and legs, loss of control of the bladder and bowels, but depending on the injury, the person may still be able to walk.
Many spinal cord injuries occur to young, healthy individuals. Of course, those who work or play in activities that are more dangerous are subject to greater chance of spinal cord injury. For example, motorcycle users, bicyclists, those working in construction, those working with heavy equipment, those participating in contact sports are all more likely to be exposed to spinal cord injury. Sadly, swimming accidents cause many cervical spine injuries because of diving into shallow swimming pools, ponds, lakes or other bodies of water.
When spinal cord injuries occur in the cervical spine, injured persons can experience breathing problems from total paralysis, loss of normal bowel and bladder control, sensory changes, chronic pain, weakness and the need for 24-hour a day care.
If the injuries are in the thoracic spine or the chest level, individuals could suffer from loss of normal bowel and bladder control, numbness, sensory changes, chronic pain as well as weakness and paralysis.
Those injuries that occur in the lumbar spine, or in the low back area, can cause loss of normal bowel and bladder control, numbness, pain as well as weakness and paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are a life altering, permanent condition therefore, it is imperative that you have experienced lawyers on your side. With more than 40 years of experience in handling spinal cord injury cases, Kreisman Law Offices has the knowledge and resources to appropriately litigate your spinal cord injury in order to obtain justice. Contact our offices at 312.346.0045 or 800.583.8002 for an immediate free consultation, or fill out a contact form.