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What differs between complete and incomplete spinal cord injury?

The spinal cord is considered to be the “command center” of the human body. It handles functions such as movement and sensation. For many important tasks, the spinal cord does the brain’s bidding; therefore if a Reno resident is injured in a car accident by a negligent driver it could change the course of life for the injured person should the spinal cord be damged. Depending on the type of injury and the specifics of a person’s medical injury, the spinal cord injury can be considered complete or incomplete.

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that is protected by the spine. When the spinal cord bundle is impacted or bent the wrong way, such as can happen in a car accident, it can affect the way the spinal cord interacts with the brain. This can lead to paralysis, chronic pain or even death.

It is important to understand the difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries because each diagnosis comes with its own customary rehabilitation and medical care. Complete injury is characterized by a loss of feeling in the lower extremities or anus. The victim of an incomplete injury has feeling in that area. It seems like a small detail, but feeling (or lack of feeling) in that area greatly determines the course of treatment and rehabilitation needed for the injured person.

As a rule of thumb, medical expenses for complete spinal cord injuries are much higher than those with incomplete injuries. However, all spinal cord injuries are complicated and always will require the attention of a medical professional. Accident victims need to consider all areas of recourse when facing medical expenses related to a spinal cord injury. Negligent drivers may be held responsible for their actions at the time of an accident.

Source: msktc.org, “Understanding Spinal Cord Injury: Part 1- The Body Before and After Injury,” Accessed July 20, 2015


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