Degrees of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries may arise as a result of many different causes that include: being hit while playing a high intensity sport (football), a fall, physical abuse, or auto accidents.

Spinal cord injuries do not always take much of an impact to cause significant damage. The impact just needs to be in precisely the right spot. There are two types of classifications relating to spinal cord injuries – complete and incomplete, with the most severe category being a complete injury.

Many people make the mistake of thinking a complete spinal cord injury is the result of a cord being severed or broken. This is a myth. In fact, when there is a complete spinal cord injury, the cord is rarely broken or severed. A patient with a complete spinal cord injury will usually lose feeling and motor functions from the point of the injury down through the rest of the body. Unfortunately, statistics show that there is a less than 5% recovery rate for this type of injury.

Incomplete injuries fall into three further divisions. An injury to the front of the cord is called an anterior lesion. Secondly, an injury to the mid area of the spine is referred to as Central Cord Syndrome. Finally, if a victim sustains a blow to just one side of the cord, and that is the only location of the damage, this is called Brown-Sequard Syndrome. Paralysis may occur with any spinal cord injury. However, with an incomplete injury the condition is usually temporary.

It’s very difficult to accurately assess if a spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete until the secondary trauma(s) manifest themselves in order to clarify any potential diagnosis. For instance, swelling and inflammation may ultimately change the initial prognosis from one category to another. There is, however, the chance that secondary symptoms may not be as devastating as initially thought, and allow a partial or total recovery.

If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence and the diagnosis is a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury, contact a skilled personal injury attorney for a consultation. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, medical bills, therapy, long-term care, and pain and suffering.

Jack Zinda is an Austin business lawyer with Heselmeyer Zinda, PLLC. To learn more about Austin business attorney Jack Zinda visit

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