Spinal cord injuries have the potential to completely change someone’s life. However, spinal cord injuries have varying consequences and require different kinds of treatment. There are even certain kinds of injuries that people can recover from with the right medical support.
Understanding the classifications that apply to spinal cord injuries can help you make sense of your diagnosis and also determine what kinds of support and compensation you need.
What is the difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries?
As the name implies, a complete spinal cord injury fully severs the spinal cord, resulting in permanent, irreparable damage. The victim will likely lose motor function and physical sensations below the site of the injury.
An incomplete spinal cord injury might involve the partial cutting, tearing or pinching of the spinal cord. In some cases, people may retain sensation and function below the injury site. Incomplete injuries also increase the likelihood that someone may eventually recover more sensation and functions. Surgery or physical therapy could lead to significant improvements.
How doctors classify the location of the injury
Each of the individual bones in your spine has a name and number. Doctors also break them into certain groups including the cervical, thoracic, sacral and lumbar spine. The location of the injury will determine whether you suffer from paraplegia, paralysis of the lower extremities, or possibly tetraplegic, complete loss of sensation and function below the deck.
The better you understand the terms used in your diagnosis and your long-term prognosis, the more realistic you can be when pursuing compensation related to a spinal cord injury.