Are there different types of spinal cord injuries?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2021 | motor vehicle accidents

Car accidents are associated with a wide range of injuries, which can cause both major and minor effects. Spinal cord injuries definitely fall into the former category, as they can have a long-term, or even permanent, impact on your life.

Additionally, there are many types of spinal cord damage that can result from an auto accident. The Shepherd Center explains the different injuries that may occur, along with the effects they cause.

Complete vs. incomplete injuries

Complete injuries refer to permanent damage to the spinal structures. These injuries are associated with paraplegia, paralysis or diminished function of the lower body, and tetraplegia, paralysis or diminished function of all limbs.

Incomplete injuries involve partial damage to the spinal structures. The level of impairment is based on several factors, including the location of the injuries and the patient’s previous medical status.

Location of injuries

The spinal cord has four sections, which are:

  • Cervical spine –  Damage to the cervical spine is considered most serious, as function above the shoulders is usually impacted. This includes the head and neck.
  • Thoracic spine – This area usually impacts the top part of the chest, the middle of the back, and abdomen.
  • Lumbar spine – Damage to the lumbar spine can require the use of assistive walking devices. Areas affected include the legs and hips.
  • Sacral spine – While still serious, sacral spine injuries usually do not result in paralysis of the lower body. However, pelvic organs can be damaged as a result.

Even relatively minor spinal cord injuries may require months or years of physical rehabilitation to restore function. For car accidents resulting from another driver’s negligence, receiving the proper compensation is a must to cover medical bills and lost wages.