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5 facts about spinal cord injuries

A spinal cord injury can be caused by a number of factors. These injuries can come from car accidents or impacts in sports. Understanding spinal cord injuries can be difficult because this area is so complex, but it is important that you have a basic understanding if you or a loved one has one of these injuries.

Spinal cord injuries can be either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that there isn't any function below the injury level. An incomplete injury has at least partial function below the injury level. A person with a complete injury has a lesser chance of recovery than a person with an incomplete injury.

The majority of spinal cord injury victims are males. Only around one in four spinal cord injury patients are females. Interestingly, when it comes to age groups, teens and people in their 20s are more likely to suffer a spinal cord injury than any other age groups.

The location of the spinal cord injury matters. Typically, spinal cord injuries that are located higher on the spine are associated with greater effects than those that are on the lower end of the spine.

Many spinal cord injuries don't involve severing of the spinal cord. Instead, it is possible to suffer negative effects even if the spinal cord is only bruised.

Damage done because of a spinal cord injury doesn't all occur at the time of the injury. Secondary events, such as the release of toxins and lack of oxygen, can damage spinal cord cells days after the initial injury.

Many factors can impact the outcome of a spinal cord injury. One thing that spinal cord injury victims should know is that they can take action to attempt to soften the financial impact of the injury by seeking compensation from the negligent party that is liable for the accident that led to the injury.

Source: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, "Spinal cord injury," accessed Dec. 07, 2016

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