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Spinal Cord Injury Levels

Posted on: July 11, 2017 by Edwards & Patterson Law

spinal cord injury

Your spinal cord consists of a complex bundle of nerves which carries messages from the brain to the rest of your body. A spinal cord injury (SCI) can result from trauma causing a bruise, or contusion, a partial or complete tear, or even a severing of the spinal cord itself. According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, each year there are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury. In addition, over 250,000 people in the United States currently live with some sort of spinal cord injury.

When an SCI occurs, it results in an absence of or decrease in sensations, movement, and/or body organ function at or below the level of the injury itself. The channel for transmitting important messages is broken or damaged, therefore messages cannot get through.

Anatomy of the Spine

Your spine includes 33 bones, called vertebrae:

  • 7 in the neck (cervical)
  • 12 in the upper back (thoracic)
  • 5 in the lower back (lumbar)
  • 5 located within the pelvis (sacral)
  • 4 located within the pelvis (coccyx)

By the time a person reaches adulthood, the 5 sacral and 4 coccyx vertebrae fuse together to form a single bone. These bones are designed to protect the bundled nerves that run within between the brain and various parts of the body.

Levels of Injury

  • High-Cervical Nerves (C1-C4) – Spinal cord injury that occurs here are the most severe form, most often bringing paralysis in the trunk, arms, hands, and legs. The victim may lose control of bladder or bowel movements and need assistance breathing. Those afflicted will need complete 24-hour care.
  • Low-Cervical Nerves (C5-C8) – Victims with spinal cord injury in this area can most often breathe and speak normally, but may have some difficulties with these tasks as the injury goes lower. Arms, hands, trunk, and legs are often affected to some degree. Injuries to lower areas in this section can also affect bowel and bladder control.
  • Thoracic Nerves (T1-T12) – These nerves affect the upper chest, abdominal muscles, and mid-to-lower back areas. Some walking and standing can be affected. The lower the injury the more severe the restrictions, such as paralysis, lack of balance control, and loss of the use of leg and feet motor skills.
  • Lumbar Nerves (L1-L5) – Injuries here usually cause some form of hip or leg disablement. Also the bladder or bowels may be affected. Walking is definitely restricted.
  • Sacral Nerves (S1-S5) – Damage to these nerves normally does not affect walking, but loss of bladder and bowel control is common.

Help with Your Spinal Cord Injury

If you incurred a spinal cord injury through an automobile accident or other incident where the negligence of another party was to blame, you could receive remuneration for your losses. The professional and experienced personal injury attorneys of Edwards and Patterson Law have years of success with helping injured persons throughout Tulsa, McAlester and eastern Oklahoma receive the financial compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us today by phone at 877-403-8417 or fill out the contact form online to arrange your free consultation.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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