What A Spinal Cord Injury Actually Entails

A spinal cord injury is any significant injury to the neck or back.

It usually involves the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal segments and the most serious of all spinal cord injuries results in some degree of paralysis.

Many people know the terms quadriplegic and paraplegic. A quadriplegic is a person who has suffered a very high cervical injury such that the spinal cord has been damaged or traumatized. The results are permanent paralysis of, in a quadriplegic case, all four limbs and various internal organs and, in a paraplegic case, usually the lower limbs and some internal organs. Many body functions, not just the observable functions of legs or arms, are interrupted. A person can have complete bowel disorders or urinary tract disorders. One of the more serious disorders is the inability of the body to cool itself or regulate body temperature. There is a whole constellation of problems that begin to arise once you have such a catastrophic injury.

The spinal cord itself does not need to be directly injured. It can be injured as a result of pressure; it can be injured as a result of scarring. One of the more unfortunate situations in spinal cord injuries is that the injury does not appear to be terribly serious or significant at first, but gradually becomes more serious. People who have been able to move their hands and arms after a serious accident think they have been lucky, but then they begin to lose the ability to move their hands and arms as the area around the spinal cord swells. The swelling begins to cut off the circulation and the spinal cord is virtually choked of life. It stops functioning and, unlike arterial or bony injuries which can recover, nerves really do not recover. Once they are damaged, they are damaged forever.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with Personal injury law issues in the Toronto, Ontario Region, contact Strype Barristers LLP.

This article is taken from a March 17, 2008 interview with Jeff Strype LL.B., Personal Injury Lawyer with Strype Barristers LLP in Toronto , a Personal Injury Law Firm.

Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.