Spinal Cord Injuries From Car Accidents

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Legally reviewed by Eric Feldman on May 16, 2022 Eric Feldman is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

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What is the spinal cord?

The spinal cord is a large, long bundle of nerves that runs from your brain down to the bottom of your back. It is an important part of the central nervous system, which controls nearly all the actions of our bodies, including movement and breathing. The spinal cord sends information between your body and brain while controlling heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation. If you have ever had any serious damage to this part of the body or if it becomes infected, then you may experience some very serious symptoms such as paralysis or respiratory failure.

Parts of the Spine and Their Functions

Many different parts of the spine are associated with specific functions in the body. For example:

  • The cervical spine is associated with upper limb function and is often harmed by injuries and falls.
  • The thoracic spine is associated with trunk function, such as breathing and posture, as well as lower limb function.
  • The lumbar spine is associated with lower limb function and helps to stabilize your body upright. It also plays a role in back pain, which can often be caused by a herniated disc or another type of spinal injury.

Depending on the location of the injury, a victim may suffer from the loss of any of the functions above or others.

The spinal cord is protected by different layers of tissue called the meninges. These include:

  • The dura mater, which forms a tough layer around the outside of the spinal cord;
  • The pia mater, which attaches directly to the nerve cells in the spinal cord; and
  • The arachnoid mater, which is a thin membrane  located between the dura mater and the pia mater

As you can see, the spinal cord plays an incredibly important role in the functioning of our bodies. It is a large bundle of nerves that runs from your brain down to the bottom of your back, and it controls nearly all your actions, including movements and breathing. In addition to this, it also sends information between your body and your brain while controlling things like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and regulation of temperature.

Car Accidents and Spinal Cords

Car accidents are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries. The impact of a car accident can cause the spine to be damaged in several ways, including fractures, dislocation, and compression. The following are some of the most common car accident-related spinal cord injuries:

Spinal Cord Contusions

A spinal cord contusion is an injury to the spinal cord caused by a direct blow or impact. This type of injury can result in bruising, swelling, and bleeding of the spinal cord tissue.

Spinal Cord Tears

A spinal cord tear is an injury in which the spinal cord is torn. This type of injury can be caused by a direct blow or impact, as well as by sudden twisting or bending movements.

Spinal Cord Compressions

A spinal cord compression occurs when the spine is compressed, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord. This type of injury can be caused by a direct blow or impact, as well as by diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis.


A fracture is a break in one or more of the bones that make up the spine. A dislocation occurs when the spine’s bones are forced out of alignment. A compression injury happens when the spine is compressed, often by something heavy landing on top of it.

Impacts of Spinal Cord Injuries

These injuries can result in paralysis, which is the loss of feeling and movement in parts of the body below the level of the injury. In severe cases, paralysis can be complete, meaning that all feeling and movement is lost. Incomplete paralysis means that some feeling or movement is still present.

A spinal cord injury can also affect the bladder, bowels, and sexual function. In addition to car accidents, other causes of spinal cord injuries include birth defects, tumors, infectious diseases like meningitis or syphilis, gunshot wounds, falls from a height, and sports-related injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Recovery

Recovery from a spinal cord injury can take months or years, depending on the severity of the damage. Treatment usually consists of physical therapy to help regain muscle strength and mobility as well as medications that reduce pain and inflammation and prevent blood clots. Surgery may be necessary in more severe cases to repair broken bones or release pressure on the spine.

While recovery from a spinal cord injury is possible in several instances, and technology is rapidly advancing in conjunction with stem cell research and emerging applications, it can be a long and difficult process. For many people, the effects of a spinal cord injury are permanent and life-altering. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention to assess the extent of your injuries and start on the road to recovery.

What To Do If You Think You or a Passenger Has Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury

If you are involved in a car accident and suffer any type of spinal cord injury, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may require emergency surgery, physical therapy, medications, and other treatments to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life after the initial incident.

With proper care and rehabilitation, many people with spinal cord injuries can go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. However, there is also a risk of long-term complications related to these injuries, including ongoing pain, bladder problems, depression, sexual difficulties, and more. So it is essential that those who are affected by a spinal cord injury receive appropriate care from a team of medical professionals who are experienced in managing these complex injuries.

Contact 1-800-Injured Today To Speak With an Attorney About Your Injuries.

If you or someone you love has been affected by a spinal cord injury, we encourage you to contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. 1-800-Injured will connect you with experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you pursue damages from those responsible for your injuries and get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages. Call us now to connect with an attorney for a free consultation.