Aside from the brain, most people consider your spinal cord to be the most important part of your body. Responsible for sending nerve impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body, even partial damage to it can be life-changing.

In this week’s blog post, we wanted to illustrate this point by looking at different regions of the spine and what can happen if an injury occurs in these areas. In doing so, we hope to show our readers why a spinal cord injury is so serious and why they often lead to compensation in personal injury lawsuits.

As you may or may not know, the spine contains 33 vertebrae that are separated into five regions, which contain a certain number of these vertebrae. Injuries most commonly occur in the cervical (neck area) and the thoracic (upper back) regions. These upper spine injuries are often considered more severe because they impair more body functions than lower spine injuries.

The extent of disability experienced after a spinal cord injury depends on two major factors: where the injury took place and the severity of the injury. For example, a complete injury suffered in the cervical area may cause a person to become a triplegic or tetraplegic, losing function in three or all four of their limbs. People may also have difficulty breathing on their own and may lose all control of their bladder and bowels.

Though there is no cure for a spinal cord injury at this time, many injuries may be overcome with rehabilitation. Returning to a pre-injury life will depend once again on where the injury took place and whether it was a complete or incomplete injury.

It’s worth pointing out though that rehabilitation and lifetime care are expensive, meaning they are oftentimes the catalyst for a person to file a personal injury claim after an accident. Getting compensation for their injuries is one way accident victims can ensure that they will not encounter any financial problems after suffering the injury, especially because it could force them out of their job too.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Spinal Cord Injury,” Accessed Nov. 20, 2014