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June 24, 2021

What Is the Most Commonly Injured Area of the Spinal Cord?

The spinal cord carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When severe trauma damages the spinal cord, the consequences can be devastating.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, spinal cord injuries are most common in the cervical region (the upper-most region of the spine, starting just below the skull) and the thoracic region (the middle of the spine, between the cervical and lumbar regions).

The experienced spinal cord injury attorneys at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd have helped accident victims throughout Providence and other areas in Rhode Island for 45 years. We have built a reputation for excellence in a wide range of personal injury matters. We are committed to helping our clients pursue the full and fair compensation to which they may be entitled under the law.

Spinal Cord Injuries in the Cervical Region

The cervical spine is located at the top of the spinal column, comprising the first seven vertebrae in the neck area. Damage to the cervical spinal cord can result in the most severe of all spinal cord injuries, potentially affecting both sides of the body.

Generally, the higher up that a spinal cord injury occurs, the more catastrophic the outcome. In some cases, a cervical spinal cord injury can be fatal. While no two spinal cord injuries are the same, prompt treatment is crucial to recovery.

Complications associated with cervical spinal cord injuries include:

  • Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia
  • Loss of function in the hands, arms, trunk, and legs
  • Difficulty breathing and speaking
  • Loss of control over breathing functions
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Loss of sexual function

Long-term treatment and rehabilitation of cervical spinal cord injuries frequently involves surgery, constant monitoring, and ongoing home care.

Spinal Cord Injuries in the Thoracic Region

The thoracic spine includes the 12 vertebrae below the cervical spine. Thoracic spinal cord injuries can be severe. These injuries can affect both sides of the body. While the long-term prognosis of spinal cord injuries in the thoracic region is often better than those in the cervical region, the consequences can still be life-altering.

Damage to this part of the spinal cord can cause:

  • Paraplegia, including the loss of use of the legs
  • Loss of control over breathing functions
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Loss of sexual function

What Are the Emotional and Psychological Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries?

Individuals face a number of serious emotional and psychological challenges following a spinal cord injury. Some of these may include:

  • Loss of mobility
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of independence
  • Sense of helplessness
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Despair
  • Lack of privacy

How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Most Commonly Occur?

A study by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) found that the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (38%): 
  • Falls (30%):
  • Acts of violence (14%):
  • Sports-related incidents (9%):
  • Medical issues (5%): 

When To Seek Medical Care After a Spinal Cord Injury

In many cases of spinal cord injuries, the need for emergency medical attention is immediately apparent. However, some symptoms do not fully manifest until after an extended period of time.

Following trauma, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Impaired breathing
  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the fingers, hands, or toes
  • Partial or complete loss of control over any part of your body
  • Significant back pain
  • Pressure in the head, neck, or back
  • Stinging sensations along the spinal cord
  • Chronic back pain
  • Loss of sensation, including feeling cold and heat
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Bladder or bowel control issues
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Exaggerated reflexes

Even if your symptoms seem mild after an accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention right away. The physical, emotional, and financial impacts of spinal cord injuries can be devastating. It is critical to identify and treat any damage that may have occurred as quickly as possible.

Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Providence Today

For 45 years, the spinal cord injury lawyers at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd have achieved landmark decisions in a broad range of personal injury cases. Not only have our victories helped our clients rebuild their lives after catastrophic injuries, they have changed Rhode Island law. 

We understand the hardships you may be facing. Our experienced legal team is committed to pursuing the full compensation you deserve for your immediate and long-term financial and non-economic losses. 

View our multi-million-dollar settlements and trial results.
Please call Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd today at (401) 273-8330 to discuss your spinal injury case. Your initial case evaluation is free.