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What Is an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

The spinal cord is a collection of nerves surrounded by the vertebrae that make up the backbone. These nerves communicate messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When someone sustains a spinal cord injury, these nerves and surrounding tissue are affected. However, the type of spinal cord injury will determine what recovery will look like.

If you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the negligent party. Receiving the compensation you deserve will be a great relief for you while you focus on recovering from your injury, so don’t hesitate to speak with one of our experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorneys today.

In this blog, we discuss the difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries, as well as some of the most common incomplete spinal cord injuries.

Complete vs. Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

When most people hear spinal cord injury, they’re thinking of a complete one. A complete spinal cord injury means the spinal cord has been completely severed, leaving the victim with total paralysis below the site of the injury. Most of the time this includes paraplegia or quadriplegia.

Conversely, incomplete spinal cord injuries refer to the spinal cord not being completely severed, leaving the victim with some functionality below the site of injury. However, the level of functionality retained will depend on the type and severity of the injury. Some of the most common incomplete spinal cord injuries include:

  • Anterior cord syndrome – An injury to the front of the spinal cord that disrupts your sensory and motor skills. Movement of limbs may still be possible but may become more difficult. Fine touch sensation and awareness of body parts may remain intact.
  • Central cord syndrome – The central cord is responsible for sending messages to and from the brain, so even the slightest injury can cause considerable damage. In addition to reduced fine motor skills, victims may experience incontinence as well as impaired sexual function. It is commonly disguised as whiplash at first but can be distinguished by the weakness of the limbs. This injury is distinct in the fact that victims may regain function once the swelling subsides.
  • Posterior cord syndrome – This injury describes damage to the back of the spinal cord and is particularly rare and usually experienced by people with degenerative diseases. Victims will usually lose the ability to feel vibration, but maintain their ability to feel pain and temperature. This injury may be sustained if you are pinned in your vehicle and the arteries responsible for carrying blood in the posterior column are blocked.
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome – Also rare, this injury affects one side of the spinal cord, leaving one side of the body with impaired functionality. This can lead to further injury, as victims may still be able to move around but are missing the sensory input necessary to safely navigate the world around them. Fortunately, many people can regain most of their lost function and sensation, provided that treatment and diagnosis are administered quickly.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the most common causes of incomplete spinal cord injuries in the last five years include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Violence
  • Sports injuries
  • Surgical errors

Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you were involved in an Indiana car accident that left you with an incomplete spinal cord injury, Crossen Law Firm is here for you. Our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help you with your claim and advocate for your best interest.

To schedule a free consultation with our reliable team, dial (317) 401-8626 today. Or contact us online.