Questions About Spinal Cord Injuries

Representing Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Nearby Areas of Florida

What is spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is any damage to the spinal cord that leads to a loss of feeling, function, or mobility. The most common causes of SCI are:

  • Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents (55%)
  • Falls (18%)
  • Sports injuries and other medical conditions (27%)

Injury to your spinal cord is usually caused by a sudden impact to your spine that dislocates, fractures, compresses, or crushes one or more of your vertebrae. However, damage can also be caused by diseases like cancer and arthritis, as well as serious infection and inflammation.

What are the effects of spinal cord injury?

The effects of an individual’s SCI will depend on the level of the spinal cord where the injury occurred, as well as the type and extent of the injury. Spinal cord injury is either “complete,” meaning no voluntary movement or sensation is possible below the injury level, or “incomplete,” meaning some movement, function, and sensation is possible below the injury level.

Recent advances in acute SCI treatment have made complete injuries less common, but recovering functionality still requires intensive physical therapy and treatment over a long period of time.

Quadriplegia – a partial paralysis of all four limbs – can occur if one of the top eight segments of the spinal cord are injured. If the lower segments of the spinal cord are injured, paraplegia can result, which only affects the lower half of the body.

Can people with spinal cord injury ever fully recover?

Your spinal cord is a major bundle of nerves that carries impulses to and from your brain to the rest of your body. When this bundle of nerves is injured, it will swell, causing changes in nearly every system of your body.

For some people, this swelling will begin to go down after several days and weeks, allowing them to regain lost function. Individuals can recover function as late as 18 months after an SCI, and in very rare cases, years after the injury occurred. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of people will ever recover all of the function and mobility they lost.

If you have further questions about spinal cord injury, please contact our experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys today for a free initial consultation. Colling, Gilbert, Wright & Carter serve clients in the Orlando, Florida area.