Spinal cord injuries after car wrecks and similar accidents can lead to devastating life impacts. When a person is diagnosed with one, they are given specific information. This includes what type of injury they have and where it is located. While these points might not mean much to a person then, it will become important as they go through the healing and recovery period.
Patients who were recently diagnosed might have some questions about what it all means. Finding out as much as you can about your specific case is beneficial because it helps you to know what is possible and what you are able to do and strive for in recovery.
Type and location
There are two classifications for the type of spinal cord injury. Complete injuries don’t have any sensory or motor function at or below the level of the injury. Incomplete injuries have some motor or sensory function in the impacted areas, even if that function is limited.
The location of the injury is important because areas that are below the damaged spot can be affected with altered feelings, sensations and movement ability. This means that a greater part of the body is impacted with injuries that are higher on the spine.
When the injury first occurs, the impacts might be more pronounced than what they will be once the spinal shock abates. For this reason, medical care teams may wait to classify an injury until the initial shock to the spinal cord has been controlled.
ASIA Impairment Scale
The ASIA Impairment Scale denotes the severity of the spinal cord injury as based on the S4 and S5 sections of the spine. It uses letters from A to E with A being the worst and E being normal function. Injuries classified as B, C or D are incomplete injuries. B means that sensory function is present, C means there is some motor and sensory function available, and D means that there is some useful motor function. A classification of A means that there is no sensory or motor function in that area.
A person who suffers a spinal cord injury from a car wreck will try to recover as much function as possible. This is done through extensive medical care and therapy, which can be costly. Victims of accidents that cause this type of impact can choose to seek compensation from the person or party liable for the accident.