What are the types of spinal cord injuries?

There are two main type of spinal cord injuries to be aware of, and they are known as complete injuries and incomplete injuries. While both of them can have a large impact on your life, the type of injury that you have often determines just how detrimental they can be and what type of medical care — and rehabilitation — is needed.

With a complete injury, you will lose all motor function and feeling below the point at which the injury occurred. With an incomplete injury, you will notice decreased feeling and motor function, but you will not lose them entirely. For example, you may still be able to move your legs, but the joints could feel stiff or numb, and quick movements may be impossible.

Beyond those distinctions, there are four other types of injuries that you could suffer from. The first is a Cervical Spinal Cord Injury, which impacts both the arms and the legs. This can lead to quadriplegia. The second is a Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury, which occur in the area of the ribcage, and mainly impacts the legs. The ribcage itself can help to prevent these injuries, so they are a bit less common.

Next, there is a Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury, which is still further down, and just impacts the legs. You could also have a Sacral Spinal Cord Injury, which is the lowest. It tends to impact the legs, hips, bowels and other such areas.

No matter what type of injury you have, it could lead to some degree of permanent disability. Be sure that you know all of your legal rights in Florida if this occurs.

Source: Christopher and Dava Reeve Foundation, “What is my injury all about, and what is meant by complete vs. incomplete?” Jan. 05, 2015