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Learning about spinal cord injuries

Individuals who have been involved in an accident may be examined for various injuries, including spinal cord injuries. Due to the important role that the spinal cord plays, an injury of this nature may result in lasting and debilitating consequences.

The spinal cord is approximately 52.5 centimeters in length, starting at the brain and passing through the interior cervical and thoracic vertebrae. The tail of the spinal cord stops near L2, the lumber vertebrae. It then continues through various nerves that make their way down the body. The spinal cord is important because it is the communication pathway between the brain and other parts of the body. This communication provides functioning of the body's organs and movement of muscles. When a person experiences pain or other bodily sensations, the brain sends a message from the brain to nerves down the spinal cord.

Spinal cord injuries may arise from a traumatic experience, such as a person suffering whiplash in a motor vehicle accident or suffering a neck injury on the job. An injury of this nature harms the communication between the brain and other portions of the body. Injuries can vary from mild to severe, including paralysis. A person's organs or limbs may not function in the same manner as they did before. Additionally, a spinal cord injury can impair physiological functions, such as the ability to move various muscles, circulate blood, go to the restroom upon demand or breathe.

Individuals who suffer from a spinal cord injury may face years of impairment and expensive medical bills. If the injury was caused by another person's negligence, he or she may choose to consult a personal injury lawyer. By taking this course of action, a spinal cord injury patient might be able to seek compensation for the injury.

Source: Spinal Cord Injury BC, "About Spinal Cord Injury", October 30, 2014

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