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Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys

Learn More About the Symptoms and Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries

Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of the back from the base of the brain to the waist. Bones surround and protect the spinal cord and are called vertebrae. There are eight vertebrae in the neck, called the cervical vertebrae, and there are twelve in the back called thoracic vertebrae.

A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord causing a loss of function. The most frequent causes of SCI are automobile accidents (36%), violence (28.9%), or falls (21.2%). Diseases, such as spina bifida and polio, can also result in SCI. A person does not have to sever their spinal cord to cause SCI, and in most cases, the spinal cord remains intact. Also, a person breaking their neck or back may not sustain a SCI if only the vertebrae are affected.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are two types of injury associated with SCI, “complete” and “incomplete” injuries. A complete injury means there is no function below the level of the injury and both sides of the body are equally affected. With an incomplete injury, there is some movement and/or sensation below the level of the injury and both sides of the body may not be equally impacted.

Levels of Injury and Paralysis

Vertebrae Level

Possible Physical Results

Cervical Level


Cervical C1-C4

Often require a ventilator to breathe

Cervical C5

Shoulder and biceps control can remain, but wrist and hand movements do not

Cervical C6

May add wrist control, but no hand movement

Cervical C7 & Thoracic T1

May be able to straighten arms, but may have dexterity problems with hands and fingers

Thoracic Level 

Paraplegia, where hands are not affected

Thoracic T1-T8

May be poor trunk control as a result of the lack of abdominal muscle control

Thoracic T9-T12

Allow for good sitting balance from abdominal muscle and trunk control 

Lumbar (lower back) and Sacral Regions

Results in a decrease in control of the hip flexors and legs

In addition to the above issues, SCI victims may also have a loss of bladder or bowel control, loss of sexual function, low blood pressure, reduced control of body temperature, the inability to sweat below the level of injury, and chronic pain. 

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Recover after a Spinal Cord Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you are sure to have immediate questions. There are answers to some of your most important questions right here on our website. For more information, you should also download our FREE book, “10 Essential Steps You Must Take To Protect Your Injury Claim, How You Can Escape The Personal Injury Trap, The Ultimate Guide To Accident Cases in Missouri and Kansas,” right here on our website.

At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we have been representing victims of spinal cord injury for more than 15 years. We understand that a serious medical injury can have devastating consequences and we are dedicated to thoroughly representing the victims of such injuries every step of the way. Contact the experienced lawyers at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys at (816) 471-5111 for a FREE consultation with no obligation.

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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