Spinal cord injuries are severe and complex. Depending on the specific type of injury, they can lead to many symptoms and long-term effects. In general, spinal cord injuries are categorized into two main types: incomplete and complete. Both can profoundly impact a person’s life, but they come with different challenges and recovery potentials.
Understanding these two types of spinal cord injuries is essential for anyone affected by them, including patients as well as their family and other caregivers. The distinctions between incomplete and complete spinal cord injuries are crucial in determining treatment approaches, rehabilitation strategies and overall prognosis.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries allow some function below the injury site
An incomplete spinal cord injury means the spinal cord has been damaged but not completely severed. Some messages can still travel back and forth between the brain and parts of the body below the injury site. A person with an incomplete spinal cord injury may retain some sensation or movement in affected areas. The extent of function retained can vary widely and depends on the severity and location of the damage.
Complete spinal cord injuries result in total loss of function below the injury site
A complete spinal cord injury refers to a condition where the spinal cord is entirely severed or so damaged that no messages can pass between the brain and the body below the injury site. This leads to a total loss of sensation and motor function in those areas. Depending on the level of the spinal cord where the injury occurs, this can result in paralysis of the lower body or all four limbs.
Anyone with a spinal cord injury resulting from someone else acting negligently may choose to seek compensation to help offset the expenses related to the injury. These cases are time-sensitive because of limits set by state law, so be sure to act quickly.