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What factors affect the effects of a spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and life-changing injuries. The exact effects of the spinal cord injury depend on many factors. These factors include the location and extent of the damage. Understanding some basic points about what factors affect the effects of a spinal cord injury can help you if you or a loved one has had to deal with this type of injury.

What impact does the location of the injury have?

The location of the injury has a big impact on the effects of the spinal cord injury because the areas below the injury are usually affected. This means that a neck injury, which is one that occurs in the cervical spine, could lead to quadriplegia. Some of these injuries can lead to ventilator dependence. Lower injuries, such as those in the lumbar region can lead to trouble controlling the legs, but the arms wouldn't be affected.

What does the extent of injury mean?

Spinal cord injuries are classified as complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that all function below the injury is gone. An incomplete injury means that there is still some function below the injury. Because of treatment advances, incomplete injuries are becoming more common.

If you are one of the 450,000 Americans who is living with a spinal cord injury, you might opt to seek compensation for the injury if it was caused by an accident that could be attributed to neglectful or reckless behavior. The statute of limitations applies to these cases, so make sure you don't wait too long before you make your claim.

Source: Shepherd Center, "Learn About Spinal Cord Injuries," accessed Sep. 29, 2016

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