Medical Negligence
Compensation Amounts
Negligence Law
Gynaecology Obstetrics
Brain Haemorrhage
Cauda Equina Injury
Cancer Misdiagnosis
Dental Negligence
Gastric Band Errors
Cerebral Palsy
Birth Injury
Erbs Palsy


Address 1
Address 2
Address 3
Phone Number
Negligence Date
Negligence Details


HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

A spinal cord injury involves physical damage to the spinal cord secondary to fall or motor vehicle accident or gunshot wound that results in a loss of function of the spinal cord distal to the level of the injury. About ten thousand new cases of spinal cord injury occur each year with about 45000 people currently alive within the US with spinal cord injury. Eighty two percent of individuals are males between the ages of 16-30. Thirty six percent are due to motor vehicle accidents, while 29 percent are due to violence like a shot gun injury and 21 percent are due to falls. Quadriplegia beats out paraplegia slightly more often.

The spinal cord may be severed as a result of the trauma but many spinal cord injuries just cause stretching of the spinal cord or death of spinal nerves without transaction. The spinal cord, in the latter situations, does not function, even though it looks grossly normal. Under the microscope, the spinal cord would look damaged or dead.

The cause of the spinal cord injury is the disruption of the spinal cord or loss of blood supply to the spinal cord injury. This isn't the same as breaking one's back or neck. You can easily break your back or your neck and not sustain any spinal cord injury. The bones need to be stabilized so that the bones don't disrupt the spinal cord secondary to the traumatic injury.

Normally, the eighteen inch spinal cord is protected within the vertebrae in the back. When the back bones get disrupted or when a projectile enters the spinal canal, the spinal cord is disrupted. The nerves are known as upper motor neuron nerves that send signals from the lower motor neuron nerves or peripheral nerves to the brain and vice versa. When there is a disruption of the upper motor neurons, the individual cannot pass information back and forth between the brain and the body. The person becomes paralyzed below the level of the disruption. Quadriplegia involves a lesion high in the neck or upper thorax and affects both the upper and lower extremities. Lesions involving most of the thoracic back or lumbar back can result in paraplegia, which involves just the lower extremities. One leg or arm can be affected to a greater degree than the other extremity if there is just partial damage or transaction of the cord. There are seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae and five lumbar vertebrae.

The effects of spinal cord injury depend on the level of the injury and the type of the injury involved. There can be complete injuries to the spinal cord, which affect the entirety of the upper or lower extremities of the body. The major symptoms include paralysis of the extremities with tone that can be decreased or increased. Tone tends to start out low and increase over time as the upper motor neuron function is diminished over time. Again, one arm or leg can function greater than the other in an incomplete injury. An incomplete injury is more common now that improved treatment is out there for managing spinal cord injuries.

Neck injuries usually result in a form of quadriplegia. Injuries above C4 may mean the individual needs ventilator support for breathing. Injuries at C5 provide control over the upper arms but not the lower arms or hands. Injuries at C6 provide good wrist control but there is often no hand functionality. C7 and T1 injuries can yield some hand functioning but the individual may have problems with manual dexterity of the hand. Levels at T9 to T12 mean that you have reasonable trunk control but have poor or no control over the lower extremities. The loss of function can involve both motor and sensory function.

The treatment of spinal cord injuries involves resting the spinal cord and stabilizing the bones surrounding the spinal cord. This means surgery to put plates and screws into the spinal bones. It also means taking corticosteroids and fluid medication to shrink swelling of the spinal cord in the acute phases of the injury.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Spine Injury solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Spine Injury solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here