Understanding the Spinal Cord

by Tim O’Hare

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Spinal cord injuries are some of the most debilitating injuries that can occur as the result of a car accident, job injury or other traumatic event. The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system and acts as an extension of the brain to the rest of the body. An individual who suffers a spinal cord injury may be left with permanent disabilities.

The spine is designed to protect the spinal cord from injury, but in some cases, damage to the spine can also result in damage to the spinal cord, the delicate bundle of cells and nerves. Spinal cord injury may affect an individual’s functional control over parts of his or her body, depending on the portion of the spinal cord that has been damaged.

The spine is made up of four regions: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions. The cervical region is the neck, the thoracic region is the upper back and the lumbar region is the lower back. The sacral region (or sacrum) is the triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine. Injury to the cervical region of the spinal cord can result in quadriplegia — loss of function and motor skills from the point of injury downward. Injury to the thoracic region affects the function of the lower extremities and may result in difficulty controlling the core, abdominal and trunk muscles. Injury to the lumbar region may result in loss of control over hips, legs and even urinary or bowel function. Injury to the sacral region can also impair control of the legs, urinary and/or bowel function.

In most cases, a severed spinal cord can not be treated or repaired, leaving the injured individual to adjust to a “new normal” way of life.

A spinal cord injury can result in a heavy financial burden for the injured, including hospital and medical bills, as well as lost wages from work. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to the fault of another individual, you may be able to make a personal injury claim to recover your losses. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, job injury or other traumatic event, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.

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