These Are the Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Updated on July 3, 2023
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These Are the Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Have you been involved in an accident? Are you wondering about the different types of spinal cord injuries?

Some common spinal cord injuries can cause temporary problems. They can be treated and your symptoms will subside. Other spinal injuries, however, can be more serious.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

It’s important to note that spinal cord injuries have two major categorizations. 

With a complete spinal cord injury (SCI,) you lose the ability to control movement below your injury, which is called motor function. You will also lose all feeling, which is known as the sensory function.

With an incomplete SCI, you will lose part of your sensory and motor functions below the area of the spine where the injury occurred. 

A spine specialist plays a crucial role in the management and treatment of both complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries (SCI).  

In the case of complete SCI, the focus will be on managing complications and maximizing quality of life.  

For incomplete SCI, treatment may involve a combination of medical interventions and rehabilitation strategies to promote recovery and functional improvement.

2. Common Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

Paraplegia is an example of a common complete spinal cord injury. It involves partial or complete loss of feeling and movement in the lower half of the body.

Quadrapeligia is another complete SCI. It involves paralysis that occurs from at least the shoulders down. This is because messages from the brain can’t get sent to other parts of the body.

Treatments for complete SCIs include medications, surgery, physical therapy, and counseling. Patients usually use mobility aids.

Spine specialists are skilled in performing various surgical procedures to stabilize the spine, decompress the spinal cord, remove herniated discs, or repair fractured vertebrae. Surgery aims to prevent further damage, relieve pressure on the spinal cord, and promote the healing process.

3. Common Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

Anterior Cord Syndrome involves a loss of pain and temperature sensation below the area where an injury occurred. Back pain, hypertension, and sexual dysfunction are all symptoms.

Brown-Sequard Syndrome involves damage to the spinal cord. It could cause weakness or even paralysis on the side of your body where the injury occurred, and a loss of sensation on the other side.

With Central Cord Syndrome, the center of the spinal cord is damaged. It could cause a loss of fine motor skills, weakness in your arms or legs, or even paralysis.

4. Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

After you’ve had an injury to your spine, you may notice some of the symptoms of a spinal cord injury. 

You’ll want to be on the lookout for a loss of movement in your limbs, as well as a loss of bowel or bladder control. You may also notice that your reflexes get exaggerated or you experience occasional spasms.

Pain and stinging sensations may also occur at the site of the injury. You may also notice that you have difficulty breathing or coughing.

If you suspect an SCI, you’ll need to contact a medical professional immediately. Only they can properly diagnose the condition and get you the help you need.

5. When to Call A Spinal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or on the job, you may get some kind of insurance compensation to help offset your medical costs. A spinal cord injury may require some kind of surgery, but your fees probably won’t end there. 

You may need to pay for prescriptions and ongoing physical therapy just so you can function each day. And you’ll need to think about the money you’ll be losing in wages while you recover.

When your insurance compensation isn’t enough, or if your claim gets rejected, you’ll want to enlist the help of experienced spinal cord injury lawyers.

These professionals may be able to help you reach a settlement in which you get the funds you need to pay your medical bills and continue recovery. Or they may feel that you deserve more and will be able to represent you in a trial. Either way, a spinal injury attorney can help you get the money you need to help offset the financial burden of your injury.

6. What to Look For in a Spinal Injury Attorney

An experienced spinal injury lawyer will list “spinal cord injury” as one of their specialties on their website. Remember that different attorneys have different specialties, so you’ll want to find one who considers spinal cord injuries an area of expertise.

Read online reviews and see what former clients are saying about your attorney. If you’re satisfied with what you see, call them up and ask for at least three references. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

Was the attorney able to win the case? Did it settle or go to trial? Were they respectful and professional throughout the process?

Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, so you’ll have an opportunity to decide whether or not you’ve found the right professional. Ask them to give you an example of a case similar to yours that they won. What was their strategy?

You’ll also want to find out about your attorney’s fees before you hire them. Ask them if they charge by the hour or a percentage of your winnings. Make sure that what you’ll be paying seems reasonable for your caseload and geographical area.

7. Treating a Spinal Cord Injury

It’s important to note that the treatment plan for spinal cord injury is highly individualized, taking into account the severity of the injury, the specific symptoms and impairments, and the patient’s overall health.

Depending on the severity of your spinal cord injury, you may require treatments like medications, physical therapy, or rest. 

Furthermore, depending on the extent of functional impairment, the doctor may require the patient to use assistive devices, such as braces, walkers, canes, or wheelchairs, to improve mobility and independence. Occupational therapists can provide adaptive strategies and assistive devices for activities of daily living.

More severe complications require surgery or fitting for mobility units. It’s critical to contact a physician as soon as you suspect a spinal cord injury because they can worsen over time. 

Coping with an SCI can be emotionally challenging. Psychological support, counseling, and support groups can help individuals and their families navigate the emotional aspects of the recovery process and provide strategies for adjustment and coping.

The Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

It’s important to know the types of spinal cord injuries if you suspect you have one. If you experience the common symptoms of a spinal cord injury, seek professional help immediately. If you need additional funds to recover, make sure to contact a qualified spinal cord injury attorney. 

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.