Spinal cord injuries have a variety of symptoms. The severity and location of the spinal cord injury directly relate to the symptoms a patient will experience. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury do not always show up right away. Some spinal cord injury symptoms are delayed while others are present immediately upon injury.
Symptoms are experienced at the point of and below the affected level of the spine, and may be mild, moderate, or life-threatening. They may also vary depending upon the location of the injury, and if the injury is complete or incomplete.
Signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury may present immediately or some symptoms may be delayed as swelling and bleeding occur in or around the spinal cord. One or more of the following symptoms may occur with a spinal cord injury:
There are three main areas in which a person may suffer spinal cord injury: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. The fourth section of the spine (sacral), does not contain spinal cord tissue. Consequently, though you may cause damage to the sacral vertebrae or nerves, you will not damage the cord at that level.
Cervical (C1-C8) - Damage to the spinal cord in the cervical spine is considered the most severe because it can be life-threatening. Symptoms of cervical spinal cord damage may affect the arms, legs, mid-body, and even the ability to breathe on one’s own. The higher up in the cervical spine the damage occurs, the worse the injury. Symptoms may be felt on one or both sides of the body.
Thoracic (T1-T12) - Damage to the spinal cord in the thoracic spine typically affects the legs. Thoracic spinal cord damage high up in the area may affect blood pressure.
Lumbar (L1-L5) - Damage to the spinal cord in the lumbar spine typically affects one or both legs. Patients with lumbar spinal cord damage may also have trouble controlling their bladder and/or bowel function.
Treating a spinal cord injury immediately, no matter what level it occurs, is key to the long-term prognosis for the patient. Medical professionals are able to evaluate the extent of the spinal cord injury and decide if surgery to decompress and stabilize the spinal cord is necessary. Finding a swift course of action to treat the patient’s symptoms will provide a better chance for easing the recovery process.
SpinalCord.com is a service that provides free and accurate information to educate the public on brain and spinal cord injuries. SpinalCord.com is sponsored by Swope, Rodante P.A., a personal injury law firm with offices at 1234 East 5th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605 and 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 200, Decatur, GA 30030. The firm’s attorneys are licensed to practice in Florida and Georgia. If Swope, Rodante P.A. undertakes representation of a client, the firm may do so with the assistance of co-counsel in the state where the case is filed.
Use of this site or viewing the information contained on the site does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship can only be created by a mutual agreement in writing. All information submitted through SpinalCord.com is confidential and will not be shared with any other parties. However, submitting information or transmitting materials through the site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Communications with SpinalCord.com or its recovery coaches will also not create an attorney-client relationship.
Additionally, the information relayed on SpinalCord.com does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Swope, Rodante P.A. The information on this site should not be interpreted as legal or medical advice. The majority of the content on this website was not created by lawyers or medical professionals. The information contained on this site should never be taken as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney or health advice from a licensed healthcare professional.
The materials on this website are meant to be general and may not be relevant to a viewer’s individual legal or medical needs. Visitors to this website should not act on any information on this site without first seeking an opinion from a licensed attorney or licensed healthcare provider.
Laws frequently change, so the accuracy of information cannot be guaranteed.
The medical information on this site is intended to be a free resource to provide general information to the public. The information is intended to supplement instruction from your healthcare provider. The content of this website is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Every visitor to this website is recognized by our web server and it records the users domain and what pages were visited during that visitors time on the website. This method will also tell what search engine or referring site the user used to reach our website. The information obtained is used solely to increase the value of this site.
Spinal cord injuries are traumatic for patients and their families. They cause disruptive changes to every aspect of your life and there is a lot of new information to navigate and understand. Our experts have collected everything in one place to help you learn more about your injury, locate doctors and treatment centers, find financial support, and get assistance navigating your next move.