Spinal Cord Injury Information

spine xray spinal cord injury

Humans use their spinal cords to do nearly any physical activity, which is why spinal cord injuries are so serious and can affect our abilities to do even the simplest things.

To understand how spinal cord injuries happen, it's important to know some basic information about the spinal cord and the spinal column.

Spinal Cord Injury Locations

The spinal cord is a jelly-like cord protected by a group of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are organized into sections:

  • Cervical vertebrae (neck) – spinal nerves in this section control signals to the back of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and diaphragm; injuries can affect the C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, or C7 cervical vertebrae
  • Thoracic vertebrae (upper back) – spinal nerves in this area control signals to the chest muscles, muscles in the back, and parts of the abdomen; injuries can affect the T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, T7, T8, T9, T10, T11, or T12 thoracic vertebrae
  • Lumbar vertebrae (lower back) – spinal nerves in this area control signals to the lower parts of the abdomen and back, buttocks, and parts of the legs; injuries can affect the L1, L2, L3, L4, or L5 lumbar vertebrae
  • Sacral vertebrae (hip area) – spinal nerves in this area control signals to the thighs and lower parts of the legs, feet, and most of the external genital organs; injuries can affect the 5 sacral bones that form the sacrum
  • Coccygeal vertebrae (tail bone) – spinal nerves in this section carry information from the skin of the lower back; injuries can affect the 4 coccygeal bones that form the coccyx Together, the vertebrae form the spinal column, which runs down the middle of your back. The spinal column is made up of 33 bones. The spinal cord is connected to the brain, and together they form the central nervous system. Both are very important to do any sort of movement or physical activity.

When the Spinal Cord is Injured

No two spinal cord injuries are the same, and there are several the spinal cord can experience trauma:

  • Severed spinal cord (cut the whole way through)
  • Crushed spinal cord
  • Compression injury
  • Vertebral dislocation/fracture (broken back)
  • Other types of external trauma

When the spinal cord is injured, the way it sends information to parts of the body is damaged. The nerves can't give signals to hands, feet, arms, legs, shoulders, etc. – depending on where the spinal cord injury occurred. A common result of a spinal cord injury is paraplegia (paralyzed from the waist down) or quadriplegia (paralyzed from the neck down). An injury to the cervical area typically leads to quadriplegia. The paralysis can be "complete" or "incomplete."

A person who suffered a spinal cord injury may have some feeling left and be able to control some movement to the body parts that were affected, or they may not.

The effects of a spinal cord injury can cause other medical complications as well:

  • Problems breathing
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Pneumonia
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blood clots
  • Spasms
  • Pressure sores or ulcers
  • Pain
  • Reproductive and sexual dysfunction

More Information on Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal Cord Injury? Get a Free Legal Consultation Now

If you, or someone you love, suffered a spinal cord injury, you know that it can affect nearly every part of your life.

You may not even be able to scratch your nose, while before the accident you may have lived a completely independent lifestyle.

At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we've seen firsthand the devastation caused by spinal cord injuries. We have experience helping spinal cord injury victims get the money they need to pay their medical bills and future medical expenses, get adaptive devices for their home, and move on with their lives.

Call 412-394-1000 or fill out the form at the top right of this page for a free legal consultation. There's no obligation to use our services. You tell us what happened to cause your spinal cord injury, and we'll tell you if we think you have a case. Contact us now.