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The human body has an amazing ability to heal itself in many ways, but when the spinal cord suffers damage, it does not have the ability to heal or regenerate. Spinal injuries are considered catastrophic because they permanently change lives.
If you or a loved one suffers a spinal injury, you may wonder how you will pay for treatment, support, and the cost of living. At DiMarco Araujo Montevideo, we specialize in helping individuals and their families heal after a devastating diagnosis of spinal damage. We can help you find the resources, support, and financial compensation needed for you to reach and maintain a maximum recovery level.
The spine includes both the musculoskeletal system that protects the spine and the spinal cord itself. The cord is a thick bundle of nerve cells that runs from your brain down your back. Smaller nerves branch off from the spinal cord delivering sensory information between the brain and other parts of your body. The attachment of the nerves to the spinal cord allows you to feel sensations, engage in reflexive movements, and make deliberate movements.
When part of the spine is injured, the cord could get pinched, damaged, or completely severed. An injury higher up on the spine will affect more nerve pathways and cause more damage than an injury to the lower parts of the spine.
Spinal injuries do not arise from one particular set of accidents or activities. You could suffer from an injury from repetitive work movements, during a traumatic accident, or when a defective product malfunctions. Vehicle accidents, workplace incidents, sports, and slip and fall accidents can all result in devastating spinal cord injuries. In some cases, an infection can cause irreparable damage to the spine.
Like brain injuries, spinal injuries also affect individuals differently. Depending on the location and type of injury, a patient may suffer from:
For some injured individuals, the pain is constant and unbearable. Because pain is an individualized experience, physicians may only be able to monitor and manage the pain. For others, not using a body part is just as difficult as physically losing it. Finding the right medical treatment is as important during the healing process as pursuing your right to fair compensation is.
The spinal cord is long and the location of the injury is important as each section of the spinal cord generally controls a different area of the body. The next few paragraphs will be discussing what damage may be caused if an injury is sustained to that part of the spinal cord.
Cervical Vertebra (C-1 thru C-8) – Cervical spinal cord injuries usually cause loss of function in the arms and legs, resulting in quadriplegia. The cervical vertebrae are found in the neck segment of the spinal cord.
Thoracic Vertebra (T-1 thru T-12) – Spinal cord injuries that occur at the thoracic level and below may result in paraplegia. The hands, neck, arms and breathing are not usually affected by injuries sustained in this region. Injuries at T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, T7, and T8 all affect how well the patient can control their abdominal muscles. The lower the injury actually results in less severe effects. Since abdominal muscles directly relate to trunk stability, injuries to this area weaken the patient’s trunk stability. Injuries that happen lower, to T9, T10, T11 and T12, also cause the partial loss of the control of abdominal muscles and trunk stability. In total, the thoracic vertebra section (T1 thru T12) consists of about half the height of the spinal cord. The thoracic vertebrae are found in the chest area of the spinal cord starting at about where the first rib attaches to the spine.
Lumbar Vertebra (L1 thru L5) – Injuries in this region yield decreasing control of the hip flexors and legs. The lumbar segment of the spine can be found below the chest area and above the pelvis. L1 is crucial for thigh flexion and abdominal muscles. L2 and L3 are important for thigh flexion, thigh adduction, and the extension of the legs at the knee joint. L4 also controls thigh flexion, thigh adduction and the leg extension at the knee. L4 teams with L5 for thigh abduction, extension of toes, hamstring movements for the leg, and the dorsiflexion of the foot. L5 is also important for the extension of the leg at the hip, the plantar flexion of the foot and the flexion of the toes.
Sacral Vertebra (S-1 thru S-5) – Injuries in this segment generally result in the partial loss of the hips and legs functions as well as the urinary system and anus functions. This area starts at the pelvis and goes to the end of the spine. S1 and S2 help control the plantar flexion of the foot and the flexion of the toes. In addition, they help guide the legs extending from the hip and the flexion from the knee. S3 and S4 play major roles in controlling the urinary system and the urinary bladder. S5’s important role is to control a muscle that is part of the pelvic wall called the coccygeus.
Spinal injuries create lifelong changes and often require ongoing treatment. Our clients often face the inability to go back to work, earn a meaningful wage, or regain their former quality of life.
The attorneys at DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Riverside know how such a serious loss can affect individuals and their families. Our comprehensive approach to spinal injury cases includes legal assistance with workers’ compensation benefits, private medical insurance claims, and personal injury claims.
When you contact our team for a free case evaluation, we can meet you in our offices, at the hospital, or at your home throughout the week. We can also schedule appointments outside of regular office hours if needed. Allow us to help you receive the financial support you deserve. Reach out to our Riverside office today to learn more about our approach to catastrophic injury cases.