The human body, and all of its movements, is controlled by the brain. The brain tells the body what to do, where to go, how to move, what to feel. But the brain cannot deliver these commands to the body on its own. It needs a messenger to communicate to the rest of the parts of the body.
The messenger of the human body is the spinal cord. The spinal cord is made up of branches of nerves that send signals, or messages, to the rest of the body from the brain and back. It is responsible for all physical movement within the body, as well as functions such as breathing and bladder and bowel control.
An injury to the spinal cord can be debilitating. The severity of a spinal cord injury will depend on where on the spinal column that injury occurs.
The spine itself consists of three different sections, the cervical spine (or the neck), the thoracic spine (or the trunk of the body), and the lumbar spine (or the lower back). The higher in the spine that the spinal cord injury occurs, the more severe and debilitating the injury will be.
The most severe spinal cord injury will occur at the top of the cervical spine at the base of the skull. An injury here most likely leads to paralysis and potentially quadriplegia. This means loss of ability to control movements in any limbs, and sometimes, loss of ability to breathe, speak, eat, or control bladder or bowel movements.
An injury to the bottom of the neck, in the lower cervical spine, will generally result in paralysis and quadriplegia, however, a person with a lower cervical spine injury will often be able to breathe and speak on their own. Mobility will be severely limited with this type of spinal cord injury; however, a patient may be able to operate a motorized wheelchair to get around.
The thoracic spine and spinal cord nerves are responsible for lower body movements. A spinal cord injury to this section of the spine will usually leave function of the upper body intact, while functions of the lower body, the legs, the bowel and bladder, will likely be negatively impacted, most likely resulting in paraplegia, or paralysis of the lower limbs.
The lumbar spine and sacrum is the very bottom of the spinal column. A spinal cord injury here may or may not lead to the loss of ability to walk. It will likely lead to the loss of bladder and bowel control. This type of injury will affect the hips, but the severity of the injury will vary from person to person.
A spinal cord injury is a life changing trauma, forcing a person to make permanent adjustments n the way in which he or she lives. The attorneys at the Alexander Law Group, LLP believe in empowering Americans. That’s why we represent individuals who have been badly injured in accidents. If you need legal help after a spinal cord injury, contact the attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 for a free case consultation.