What Are the Spinal Cord and Vertebra?
- March 29, 2017
An injury to the spinal cord or vertebra may require a lifetime of medical care, rehabilitation services and personal assistance. It is vital, therefore, that the nature and extent of a spinal injury be properly diagnosed and treated.
The expertise of an experienced Los Angeles area personal injury attorney will also be necessary to negotiate the legal process and obtain adequate financial compensation. Overcoming the affects of a severe spinal cord injury can be a significant challenge for both the victim and family. Spinal cord injuries are often aggravated by an inaccurate diagnosis or inappropriate medical treatment.
Spinal Cord and Vertebrae
Needless to say, suffering an injury to the soft bundle of nerves that comprise the spinal cord is cause for concern. The spinal cord begins at the base of the brain and extends to the lower back. The fragile spinal cord travels through the spinal canal and is protected by a series of bones known as vertebra. The spinal cord allows electrical signals to travel from the brain to the system of nerve routes that enable bodily functions. Spinal injuries often disrupt this crucial communication pathway between the brain and body. The body is also equipped with discs that cushion the vertebrae to ensure the flexibility of the spinal column.
The human spinal column normally includes a total of 33 vertebra. The upper 24 vertebra are articulated and separated from one another by intervertebral discs. The upper 24 vertebra are categorized according to region, including seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae and five lumbar vertebrae. Although the number of upper vertebra remains constant, the exact number of vertebrae in a particular region may vary. It should be noted, however, that it is extremely rare for the number of vertebra in the cervical region to vary. The nine lower vertebra are fused in adults, including five vertebra in the sacrum and four vertebra in the tailbone, or coccyx. The spinal column is also strengthened by ligaments that extend from the front and back of the spinal column. Moreover, there are ligaments between the vertebrae to help the spinous and transverse processes interact with the vertebral laminae.
No one is prepared for the onset of a severe spinal cord injury. Accidents happen so quickly, and even highly trained medical professionals make mistakes. The following is only a partial list of the many conditions and events that have the potential to devastate the health and livelihood of an unsuspecting victim:
- Motor vehicle accident
- On the job injury
- Slip and fall injury
- Herniated disk
- Surgical procedures
- Blood clots
- Spinal taps
- Head and back injury treatment
Spinal Cord Injuries
The nature and extent of a spinal cord injury, or SCI, depends on the location of the trauma. Severe trauma can distort or disrupt communication between the brain and spinal cord below the point of injury. The higher and more severe the injury, the more medical care, rehabilitation and support will be required.
Spinal cord injuries are difficult to properly diagnose and treat. Recovering from a spinal cord injury is time consuming and expensive. Suffering any degree of paralysis, for example, is destined to permanently alter the lifestyle and dreams of both individuals and families. Paraplegia and quadriplegia often impose a lifetime of therapy and personal care. Spinal cord injuries can also cause a loss of autonomic function, including breathing, bladder and bowel control and loss of reflex function.
It’s also common for spinal cord victims to suffer severe pain. The spinal cord influences nearly every bodily function. Adequate medical care and therapy services will be necessary if muscle spasms, sexual dysfunction, bladder and lung infections, sores, weight gain, poor coordination and muscle atrophy are to be avoided.
If any of the following symptoms appear after being involved in an accident or receiving medical care, the injury victim should speak with a qualified Los Angeles area personal injury attorney. The initial consultation will be provided free of charge.
- Difficulty breathing
- Bladder or bowel control issues
- Serious pain in the head, neck or back
- Paralysis of any portion of the body
- Spasms or problems with coordination
Innocent victims are often injured due to the negligence of a third party. Unfortunately, many victims are forced to face the reality of a severe spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is one of the most essential and fragile parts of the human body. Spinal cord injury victims will require the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney to seek justice on their behalf.
Only an experienced Los Angeles area personal injury attorney possesses the knowledge and resources necessary to compensate victims for their disability, pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. All legal services are provided free of charge unless compensation is obtained on behalf of the victim and their family.