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Most spinal cord injuries end in paralysis

Many people in the Reno area probably realize that permanent paralysis is a common symptom of a spinal cord injury, whether the injury comes from a car accident, a workplace fall or some other incident.

What people might not realize is how likely some degree of paralysis is once one’s spinal cord suffers an injury. Only a handful of spinal cord injuries, fewer than 1 in 100, end with a person not experiencing any paralysis at all.

On the other hand, 20 percent of those who suffered a spinal cord injury experience what is called complete paraplegia, or the complete loss of sensation and movement from the waist down. Over 13 percent of victims were completely paralyzed from the neck down, meaning that they require constant medical and personal care.

The remaining 2 out of 3 or so victims experience conditions called incomplete paraplegia or incomplete tetraplegia. In both of these cases, a victim will experience some, but not all, symptoms of paralysis.

How the condition affects a given person depends a lot on the nature of the injury to the spine. For instance, some victims may have sensation in the affected areas but be unable to move them, while others may be just the opposite. Among those with incomplete injuries, about 2 out 3 experience problems above their waist.

Any spinal cord injury is a very serious matter which will likely require an investment of a lot of time and money in to medical care, rehabilitation expenses and the like. Moreover, a Nevada resident who suffers a spinal cord injury may have to find a new career or figure out a way to support herself without being able to work.


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