Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, vary widely depending on the nature and severity of the injury. A spinal cord injury can range from back pain to full body paralysis whereby the individual in not able to move any of his or her limbs. Spinal cord injuries involve trauma to the spine as opposed spinal disease. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicles accidents, falls and sports related incidents.
In general, a spinal cord injury can be classified as either “complete” or “incomplete.” If the injury is deemed complete, this means that function of the entire area below the injured location on the spine is affected. Incomplete on the other hand means that function below the injured region is at least partially in tact. Complete spinal injuries usually result in minimal functional movement and recovery. Incomplete injuries typically result in the patient regaining some functional movement – this is particularly true in recent years with the advances in medicine and treatment.
In determining the nature and degree of the spinal injury, it is essential to locate the specific region/level of the spine that has been injured. The spinal cord is divided into three main areas, the cervical (neck), the thoracic and the lumbarsacral regions. Pinpointing the level of the injury is essential for establishing a proper treatment plan and determining the patient’s prognosis. The cervical region is divided into levels, from C–1 to C–7 and the thoracic region is divided from T–1 to T–12. The lumbarsacral region has lumbar levels from L–1 to L–5 and below that are sacral levels, S–1 through S–5. Each region controls a different part of the body, and accordingly injuries to the different levels may result in loss of movement/sensation to different areas.
The range of treatment and rehabilitation vary widely depending on the severity of the spinal injury. Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of beginning treatment and rehabilitation soon after the patient is deemed stable. The primary recovery time is during the first six months of rehabilitation. Support, education and continuous physical therapy are all essential to the treatment of a spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic, life altering situations in a person’s life. They can involve paraplegia, which is defined as the loss of movement and/or sensation in the legs and back region. Individuals who experience paraplegia may also experience other problems, such as loss of control of bowel and bladder and/or sexual dysfunction.
At Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A., we have the knowledge, expertise and wherewithal to handle all types of spinal cord injury related matters. For over 30 years, Jay Halpern and his law firm have helped maximize the recovery for those who have endured these types of injuries. Please feel free to contact our firm should you or someone you know experience a spinal cord injury, and wish for us to assist you with your case.