Spinal Cord Injuries

spinal cord injuries

Between 249,000 and 363,000 people in the U.S. currently live with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and it is estimated that 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur each year.

  • 39.5% of those with spinal cord injuries are considered paraplegic and 59.9% quadriplegic.
  • 47.6% of injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30. The average age at injury has moved from 29 years in the 1970’s to 43 years in 2018.
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the cause of 39.3% of SCI injuries, followed by falls (31.8%), violence (13.5%) and sports-related activities (8%). However, falls overtake motor vehicles as the leading cause after age 45.

Questions? Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.

What is the spinal cord?

Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that run down the middle of your back. They carry signals between your body and your brain.

When you suffer a spinal cord trauma, damage to the spinal cord, it can be either a Complete or Incomplete injury.

  • Incomplete is just as the name sounds, the cord is only partially severed. You still retain some function.
  • Complete is when the cord has been fully severed, eliminating all function. This means, the cord can’t send signals below the level of the injury, thus you would be paralyzed below the injury.

Most injuries don’t result in a fully severed spinal cord; however, injuries can be caused when pieces of vertebrae tear the cord tissue or press down on the nerves.

Spinal Cord Anatomy

Your spinal cord is a column of nerves protected by a sheath of myelin and further secured by vertebrae, which are broken into the following sections.

  • spinal cord anatomyThe cervical spinal cord, with eight vertebrae, is the topmost part. It is where the brain connects to the cord and the neck connects to the back
  • The thoracic spinal cord, with 12 vertebrae, forms the middle of the cord.
  • The lumbar spinal cord, with five vertebrae, forms the lower region.
  • The sacral spine, that lower triangle shaped region, has no spinal cord; it is made up of nerve roots.
  • The coccygeal region, aka, the tailbone has just one single vertebra at the very base of the spinal cord.

A few terms you might want to be familiar with include: tetraplegia, quadriplegia and paraplegia.

Impacts of Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries at any level of the spinal cord can cause things such as:

  • Loss of normal bowel and bladder control
  • Numbness
  • Sensory changes
  • Pain and Weakness
  • Paralysis

Possible complications may include things such as:

  • Blood pressure changes that can be extreme
  • Increased risk for injury to numb areas of the body
  • Increased risk for urinary tract infections
  • Long-term kidney disease
  • Paralysis of breathing muscles and limbs
  • Pressure sores
  • Problems due to not being able to move, such as deep vein thrombosis, lung infections, skin breakdown, and muscle stiffness
  • Surgery to correct injury-related health problems such as realignment of the spinal bones, removal of fluid or tissue pressing on the cord, removal of bone fragments.

Information for You



Spinal cord injuries can be financially devastating. Treatment can be extensive and lifestyle changes will need to be made. If the injury was caused by the negligence of others, you may be able to obtain compensation to cover your medical expenses plus ongoing care for treatments such as:

  • Palliative care to help you be more comfortable
  • Physical therapy to help retrain your brain and body
  • Family and individual counseling to help you cope with the pain and stress of life

Seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you evaluate your legal options. The lawyers at Nash & Franciskato will do a free, no-obligation review of your case.

Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.



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