Paraplegia Spinal Cord Injury Level Explained

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Paraplegia Spinal Cord Injury Level Explained

There are different levels of spinal injury, ranging from minor injuries that might be painful but do not restrict movement, to, in the most serious of cases, paralysis. Paraplegia is the term given to the inability to move the lower parts of the body. Paraplegia usually affects the legs but can also affect the abdomen. Someone with paraplegia may require care and assistance on a daily basis.

The personal injury experts at JMW highlight the different levels of spinal cord injury, outlining which can cause paraplegia and other serious outcomes. To better understand your options when suffering paraplegia following an accident, contact JMW Solicitors today.

What Are the Different Levels of Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries are usually categorised as either a - 

  • Complete spinal cord injury
  • Incomplete spinal cord injury

The difference between the two is related to how much function a patient can expect to retain. Incomplete injuries vary in severity, but usually result in some sensation and movement below the level of injury being retained, whereas complete injuries usually result in the patient having no movement or sensation below the level of injury.  Functional outcomes for patients depend on the completeness of the spinal cord injury the person suffers and where on the spinal cord the damage occurs.

The four areas of the spine are:

  • Cervical - the top of the spine, below the skull
  • Thoracic - the longest section of the spine, behind the rib cage
  • Lumbar - the lower part of the spine, part of the lower back
  • Sacral - the section of the spine that connects to the hips and pelvis

What Can Cause Paraplegia-Level Spinal Cord Injuries?

Paraplegic injuries can occur when any part of the thoracic, lumber or sacral spine sustains damage. The severity of the injury will be determined by any damage that occurs to the spinal cord. 

Some examples of accidents that can directly cause or lead to paraplegia include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Criminal injury
  • Industrial accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Sporting injuries

What are the Symptoms of Paraplegia?

The most prominent symptom of paraplegia is lower-body paralysis, but there can also be secondary side effects or symptoms. 

These additional symptoms can include:

  • Loss of control of bladder and bowels
  • Very strong pain in the lower body
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sexual function and infertility

It is most likely that, if you are experiencing a loss of movement in your lower limbs, this will be easily identified as a paraplegic spinal cord injury. However, if you’re suffering from any of the above symptoms and have not been diagnosed by a doctor, you should seek medical help immediately.

What is the Difference Between Paraplegia and Tetraplegia?

Tetraplegia is similar to paraplegia but it also affects the upper body. Tetraplegia has similar symptoms to paraplegia, including loss of feeling and motor function, but can also affect the shoulders, arms and hands as well as the respiratory system. 

What Are My Options When Suffering from a Paraplegic Spinal Cord Injury?

If you have sustained a serious injury to your spine, the first thing you should do is seek medical help. You will need urgent care following an incident in which your spine is injured due to the serious nature of potential paraplegic-level spinal injuries. In some cases, the right medical support can help you to recover or prevent further injury,  but regardless of this, it is important to have your condition assessed by a medical professional. You should not try to move until you have been seen by a doctor to avoid making your condition worse.

If your paraplegia-level spinal cord injury results in the loss of movement in your legs, you will likely require a wheelchair to move around. It may also be necessary to make adaptations to your home environment so you can get in and out easily, manoeuvre around once inside, and be able to use the bathroom safely. You may also need assistance from someone to complete day-to-day tasks.

The NHS can offer support for those with paraplegia, but you may need private medical treatment or equipment to improve your quality of life. If the accident you were involved in wasn’t your fault, you should not have to pay for any of this yourself.

By claiming personal injury compensation, you may be able to secure funds that will help you to live the best quality of life after your injury. This can cover any lost earnings from the time you spent away from work during your recovery, as well as future earnings if you’re unable to go back to work. It can fund care provided by professionals or family members, adaptations to your home or a new home if your current home isn’t suitable to move back into. It can even cover the cost of travel to physiotherapy and other medical appointments, and other expenses incurred as a result of your injury.

Talk to Us

The spinal cord injury experts at JMW Solicitors can help you through the entire personal injury compensation claim process. We have provided legal representation to numerous people affected by paraplegia and we will do everything we can to support your recovery and manage your legal case on your behalf. 

Simply call us on 0800 054 6570 and we will explain how to start a claim and the amount of compensation you can expect. We offer personal injury cases on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you will not be required to pay your legal fees with us unless we are successful. Alternatively, fill out an online contact form to request a call back.

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