Frequently asked questions about spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries can change a person’s life forever and lead to a lot of questions.

Back injury cases in the Syracuse area can be very serious, especially for those who injure their spinal cord. This type of damage can affect people's entire lives and their ability to work. Someone who has been through a debilitating accident will likely have a lot of questions.

What are the classifications of spinal cord injuries?

Not all injuries involving the spinal cord are the same. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, damage to the spinal cord can be complete or incomplete. If someone suffers from a complete injury, it means there is no nerve communication between the brain or spinal cord, and the rest of the body below the injury. Consequently, the injured victim will have at least some level of paralysis, depending where the damage occurred. An incomplete injury, on the other hand, still allows at least some nerve communication. As such, someone with an incomplete injury may not suffer from paralysis.

WebMD points out that incomplete injuries are classified depending on where the damage occurred and what functions the person is still able to perform. For example, people with a T4 injury (damage to vertebrae in the thoracic segment of the spine) may be unable to control their bladder and may struggle with breathing problems.

What are some of the most common causes?

The four top causes of spinal cord injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, include the following:

  • 36.5 percent of all reported spinal cord injuries were caused by vehicle-related accidents.
  • 28.5 percent of the injuries are attributed to falls.
  • Acts of violence, which in this case are primarily gunshots, account for 14.3 percent of these injuries.
  • Sports injuries make up 9.2 percent of reported spinal cord injuries.

The other 11.4 percent of these injuries are made up of various, and sometimes unknown, causes.

Are there likely complications with this type of injury?

Because certain areas of the body can be cut off from nerve communications with the brain due to this type of injury, there are a lot of complications that may arise. The Mayo Clinic explains that many of the complications suffered are due to a change in the way the body functions after this type of accident. For example, someone with a spinal cord injury may no longer be able to control his or her bowel, respiratory system or bladder.

Many people who suffer from a spinal injury may also experience depression due to the changes in lifestyle required to cope with the initial injury and following complications. For this reason, depression may be considered a complication of an injury to the spinal cord.

A spinal cord injury in New York could make it impossible to get to work and pay bills. If negligence was the cause of the accident, talking with a knowledgeable attorney may help the situation.