Spinal cord injuries that involve the severing of the spinal cord are among the most serious injuries that can be sustained in a car, truck or a motorcycle accident.

These injuries typically involve paralysis and long term medical care for the rest of your life.

However, many people outside the medical profession are unaware of the difference between quadriplegia, tetraplegia, and paraplegia.

spinal cord injuries

The spine

The spine comprises four segments, and each segment impacts different parts of the body and its movement. Those four segments are:

  • The neck or cervical spine which contains seven cervical vertebrae;
    • Upper back or thoracic spine comprising 12 thoracic vertebrae;
    • Lower back or lumbar spine which has five vertebrae;
    • Bottom of the spine or sacral region with five bone segments that are joined together.

Serious spinal injuries can have many harrowing impacts including impaired sexual functioning, incontinence, low blood pressure due to the inability to regulate blood pressure, a lack of temperature control, chronic pain and inability to move.

What is Paraplegia?

Paraplegia typically occurs below the first thoracic spinal nerve. People with paraplegia suffer partial or complete paralysis of their legs or their entire trunk.

The severity of the injury will affect whether the truck is also paralyzed.

When an accident victim suffers an injury to the first to eighth vertebrae, the patient usually retains control of his or her hands. However, poor trunk control is likely due to the lack of abdominal muscle control.

When the injury occurs in the ninth to 12th vertebrae, the patient will usually retain control of his or her abdominal muscles and trunk. If you suffer an injury to your sacral and lumbar areas, you are likely to less control of the legs and hips.

What is Quadriplegia and Tetraplegia?

Quadriplegia and tetraplegia are the same conditions, states Spinalcord.com. Most doctors now use the term tetraplegia to describe the injury, but patients are more likely to use the term quadriplegia.

Quadriplegia and tetraplegia impacts all four limbs, plus the torso. Most people who sustain tetraplegia suffer significant paralysis below their neck. Many of them are completely unable to move.

This form of paralysis is the product of damage that occurs high up in the spinal cord, usually in the cervical spine between C1-C7.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the spinal cord injury occurs, the more serious the injury. Injuries that occur very high up in the spinal cord are often immediately fatal.

These are horrific injuries that ruin lives. Often the victim requires a ventilator or electrical implant to breathe. Because the arms are also paralyzed, tetraplegia is more debilitating than paraplegia, although hand and arm movement is possible in some cases.

It’s rare to suffer a serious spinal injury of this nature in an automobile wreck but it happens on the highways of Georgia where big rigs can cause horrific injuries. If you suffer paraplegia or quadriplegia, you will typically need life-long medical care. It’s important that you recover the most you can from the at-fault driver.

Call our Georgia automobile accident lawyers today at (404) 913-1529.