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What are some effects of a spinal cord injury?

Suffering from a spinal cord injury can change almost every aspect of your life. The spinal cord is the center of a lot of body movements and functions. When the spinal cord is damaged, a lot can go wrong. The effects of the injury depend on where in the spinal cord the injury occurred. This location is called the level.

How does level affect spinal cord injury effects?

Generally, the higher the spinal cord injury level, the worse the effects will be. This means that a person who suffers an injury near the neck will have more effects than a person who suffers an injury near the tailbone. That, however, doesn't mean that lower level injuries aren't horrible injuries.

What are some effects that can occur after an injury in the cervical spine?

Injuries that occur in the cervical spine, which is the highest section of the spine, can lead to quadriplegia if the injury occurs in the C1 to C4 area. Injuries to the C5 to C8 area can lead to paralysis of the trunk, legs, hands, and wrists. Being in a wheelchair is almost always necessary for serious cervical spine injuries, but some people can drive despite a cervical spine injury.

What are some effects that can occur after an injury to the thoracic or lumbar spine?

Injuries to the thoracic spine, which is the middle spine area, or the lumbar spine, which is the lower spine area, can cause muscle damage to the corresponding areas of the body. The lower the injury, the lower the affected area of the body. In most cases, these individuals can use manual wheelchairs if mobility support is necessary. They may have bladder or bowel control issues, but can usually manage them using special equipment.

There are a lot of other effects that a spinal cord injury can have on a person. In all cases, the therapy and medical care necessary can lead to financial problems. Those financial issues might be lessened by seeking compensation for the injury.

Source: Shepherd Center, "Understanding Spinal Cord Injury," accessed June 10, 2015

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