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How does a spinal cord injury affect a victim?

One of the most important parts of the human body is the spine. The spine is protected by the spinal cord, which contains nerves that run from the brain down one's back to control movements throughout the body. When the spinal cord is damaged, it could lead to a wide range of disabilities, ranging from numbness to total paralysis.

A vast majority of spinal cord injuries occur when the spine is struck by an object, damaging the vertebrae in the spine. The most common cause of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents, although slip and falls, sports and violence are also common causes as well. When a blow to the spine fractures or dislocates the vertebra, fragments of discs or bones, as well as damaged ligaments, could crush the nerves. Additional bleeding or swelling following the injury could lead to more damage to the nerves in the spine.

The severity of an injury is often determined by where on the spine the injury took place. This is called the "level" of the injury. For example, high level injuries often affect movements in the arms and hands, legs and trunk of the body. Lower level injuries more likely lead to paralysis or issues with the legs or pelvic area. Serious spinal cord injuries could lead to long-term or even lifelong disabilities, which could prevent someone from working or maintaining a normal lifestyle.

If you have suffered a serious spinal cord injury as a result of a workplace injury accident, you may be entitled to workers' compensation. This will help cover the costs associated with medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, as well as lost wages.

Source: Live Science, "Spinal Cord Injury: Levels, Symptoms & Treatment," Accessed on Aug. 28, 2017

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