Spinal cord damage can be the result of a medical condition such as spina bifida or Friedrich’s Ataxia, but it is often the result of a serious injury. The most common causes of spinal damage include:
- Traffic accidents
- Diving accidents
- Gunshot wounds
All too often people suffer painful and life-changing injuries through no fault of their own. A person who suffers a spinal cord injury may be facing years of physical challenges, medical bills, and emotional stress.
Common Back Injuries
The spine is made up of a column of 33 vertebrae, and tissue extending from the skull to the pelvis. These vertebrae enclose and protect a cylinder of nerve tissues known as the spinal cord. Between each of the vertebra is an intervertebral disc that serves as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. The discs make up 25 percent of the length of the spinal column. The types of vertebrae are:
- cervical vertebrae: the upper most seven vertebrae of the neck
- thoracic vertebrae: the 12 bones between the neck and the lower back
- lumbar vertebrae: the 5 largest and strongest vertebrae in the lower back
- The other nine vertebrae are in the sacrum and coccyx, and located at the base of the spine. The sacrum is a section of 5 fused vertebrae, while the coccyx (tailbone) is four vertebrae fused together.
Most of the back injuries occur in either the cervical or lumbar regions. A back injury may be sustained in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or slip and fall accident. There are many types of back injuries, including:
- herniated disc / bulging disc / ruptured disc / slipped disc
- compression fracture
- facet joint injury
- burst fracture
- spinal stenosis
- soft tissue injury
A back injury can be life-altering, leading to chronic or acute pain, as well as muscle weakness, lack of muscle coordination, numbness and/or tingling in the extremities.
(Chronic pain is defined as deep, aching, dull, burning pain that lasts a long time and is not relieved by standard types of medical management. Acute pain is a very sharp pain or a dull ache that can be intermittent, but is usually constant, and ranging in severity.)
Consequences of Spinal Cord Damage
The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves that runs from the base of the brain to just below the waist. It acts as the center of communication for the nervous system, carrying information between the brain and the rest of the body. Because of the important role it plays, damage to the spinal cord is a very serious medical issue.
The long-term medical consequences depend partly on the severity of the injury. An injury can be complete, meaning a complete loss of sensation or function, or it can be incomplete, meaning a partial loss of sensation, function, or both.
The location of the injury also has an effect on the long-term consequences for the patient. Areas of the body below the injury are the ones that will be affected. For example, a severe injury at the top of the neck can result in quadriplegia, or loss of the use of all four limbs. Injuries located closer to the ribcage can damage functioning in the hands and arms, while injuries closer to the waist affect leg functioning.
It is not fair for a person injured by someone else’s negligence to suffer the physical, financial, and emotional losses associated with spinal cord injury. Filing a suit against the responsible party is one way for victims to gain compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. It is also a way to see justice done against the parties who hurt them.
Contact a Minnesota Spinal Injury Lawyer
To speak with an experienced Minneapolis injury lawyer, contact TSR Injury Law at (612) TSR-TIME or submit our free consultation form. There are no upfront fees if we take on your case and we are ready to help you today.
Ph: (612) TSR-TIME.