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Injuries to the spine can lead to major life changes

A person involved in a motor vehicle accident can suffer from a variety of injuries. One of the more serious is a spinal cord injury. Damage to this area of the body can lead to catastrophic impacts like paralysis. For the individuals who have to deal with the life-changing effects, adjusting to the new way of life can be challenging.

Life after a spinal cord injury in Illinois can be costly, not only because of the medical care expenses but also due to the personal care assistance that you might need. The exact way that this affects you depends on the type and location of the injury.

Location of the injury

The spinal cord is divided into four sections, each noted by the location. The uppermost part is the cervical spine, which is in the neck. Below that is the thoracic spine, which is in the upper back. The lumbar spine is in the lower back, and the sacral vertebrae is in the pelvis. The tailbone is below this, but it isn't considered part of the spinal cord.

The effects of the spinal cord injury will be noticeable below the areas of the injury. An injury in the cervical spine can affect everything below the neck. It isn't only the limbs that are going to become impaired. The internal organs are also impacted, so higher injuries on the spinal cord can affect the lungs, intestines, bladder and other organs.

Types of catastrophic injuries

Typically, incomplete injuries don't have the significant impacts that complete ones have. These two types of injuries occur fairly equally. In an incomplete injury, the person might have some feeling or movement in areas below the injury. This isn't the case in a complete injury, which means that all movement and sensation are gone below the injury.

When paralysis occurs, it is noted as either paraplegia or tetraplegia. Paraplegia happens when two limbs are paralyzed. This is usually the legs due to an injury of the lumbar or thoracic spine. Tetraplegia, which is sometimes known as quadriplegia, means that all four limbs are impacted. This is the result of an injury to the cervical spine.

Finding out the exact diagnosis after the car crash can help you to determine what you will need to address. Remember that the healing process can be lengthy and that your ability to recover function depends on the injury. If another driver was the reason the accident occurred, you might opt to seek compensation from that driver for the damages that you suffered due to the spinal cord injury.

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