Thursday, September 23, 2010

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries Caused by MN Car Accidents and Work Injuries

Even minor damage to the spinal cord can result in catastrophic injury. Approximately 250,000 Americans currently live with a significant spinal cord injury. Of these Americans, 52% suffer from paraplegia, which means they have suffered a spinal cord injury in the thoracic (mid-back) or lumbar (low back) area, and 47% suffer from quadriplegia, which means they have significant injury to their spinal cord in the cervical (neck) spine. It is estimated that about 12,000 people per year suffer spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injuries refer to damage to the spinal cord, which results in paralysis, impairment in normal functioning, decreased mobility, and loss of sensation. Most spinal cord injuries are caused in work-related accidents (28%) or motor vehicle accidents (24%).

Symptoms of spinal cord injury include:
  • Loss of sensation and movement;
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control;
  • Back pain or neck pain;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Weakness;
  • Paralysis;
  • Numbness in extremities;
Different levels of the spine control different functions in the body. As a result, the level at which the spinal cord injury occurs is usually determinative as to the level of impairment.

Cervical Injuries

Cervical (neck) injuries usually result in full or partial tetraplegia (Quadriplegia).
  • C3 vertebrae and above : Typically results in loss of diaphragm function, necessitating the use of a ventilator for breathing.
  • C4 : Results in significant loss of function at the biceps and shoulders.
  • C5 : Results in potential loss of function at the shoulders and biceps, and complete loss of function at the wrists and hands.
  • C6 : Results in limited wrist control, and complete loss of hand function.
  • C7 and T1 : Results in lack of dexterity in the hands and fingers, but allows for limited use of arms. C7 is generally the threshold level for retaining functional independence.
Thoracic injuries

Injuries at or below the thoracic spinal levels result in paraplegia. Function of the hands, arms, neck, and breathing is usually not affected.
  • T1 to T8 : Results in the inability to control the abdominal muscles. Accordingly, trunk stability is affected. The lower the level of injury, the less severe the effects.
  • T9 to T12 : Results in partial loss of trunk and abdominal muscle control.
Lumbar and Sacral injuries

The effects of injuries to the lumbar or sacral regions of the spinal cord are decreased control of the legs and hips, urinary system, and anus.

If you’ve sustained a spinal injury as a result of a work-injury or car accident, contact Meuser & Associates at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email, for a free, no-obligation consultation. Make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to.
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