A spinal cord injury can be devastating. Depending on where the damage occurs along the spinal column, a victim may lose function in all or part of his body. There are close to half a million people living with spinal cord injury in the United States right now. Because injuries are often caused by contact sports or traumatic accidents, many of the victims are between the ages of 16 and 30. Approximately 44 percent of all spinal cord injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents. Learn more about this vital and vulnerable part of the body.
Anatomy of the Spinal Cord
The main job of the spinal cord is to carry messages from the brain to various body systems. The brain communicates with the spinal cord, which relays the message to the intended body part through a network of nerves branching off from the spinal cord. These nerves tell the muscles in the fingers, hands, arms, legs, chest and all other body parts what to do. The nerves also carry messages back about sensations such as pain and temperature. Many of these messages are unconscious or involuntary, such as commands to breathe, pump blood, or blink. Any interruption in this message system will have an effect on the victim’s ability to control his body functions.
Effects of Injury
In general, the higher along the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more the person’s ability to function will be affected. Victims may experience the following effects of a spinal cord injury:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex actions or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
- Pain or intense stinging sensations
Spinal cord injuries are unique to each individual. Recovery depends on the severity of the injury and must be assessed on an individual basis. However, recovery is almost always a long, hard, and very expensive road to travel.
Have You Or A Loved One Suffered A Brain Or Spinal Cord Injury?
If you've suffered a brain or spinal cord injury you need to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.