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What are the grades for spinal cord injuries?

After you've been in a car accident or suffered a workplace accident, you may be seriously hurt. Maybe you slipped and fell or were hit from the side in your vehicle, impacting your back and spinal column. Impacts to this area of the body can be devastating; any damage to the nerves can make it hard for you to use your body the same for a long time; in some cases, you could be permanently disabled.

The completeness of a neurologic injury defines the kind of recovery you can expect. After a spinal cord injury, understanding the extent of your injury is vital to knowing how much to ask for in compensation from a lawsuit or settlement. There are six grades for injuries.

The grades for injuries include Grade 0, which means there is no muscular movement or contraction, Grade 1, which has trace movements, 2, which has poor muscle movement, 3, which has fair muscle movement, 4, which is good movement against moderate resistance, and 5, which is normal movement through the complete range of motion. The best you can ask for is a Grade 5, but many people who suffer paralysis have Grade 0 or 1 injuries.

There are 28 sensory points on both sides of the body that are used to determine the grade of the injury. These are, essentially, the different disks that make up the spine. As the areas are touched or manipulated, the sensations the patient feels are used to determine if they are feeling sensations as normal or if there is damage to the nerves in that sector.

Source: MedScape, "Neurologic Level and Completeness of Injury," accessed May 12, 2016

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