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The Differences Between a Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC

Spinal cord injuries are considered catastrophic, given the life-altering impact they produce. However, not all spinal cord injuries are exactly alike and, therefore, are classified by levels, according to where the injury occurs along the spinal column. Generally, spinal cord injuries fit into one of two categories – complete and incomplete. While spinal cord injuries can be sustained in any number of ways, some are much more common than others. Car accidents, falls, gunshot wounds, and sports are the top four leading causes of these terrible and painful injuries. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of someone else’s negligent actions, contact a catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible.

What is a Complete Spinal Cord Injury?

Complete spinal cord injuries deprive the brain of its ability to send signals down the spinal cord below the site of the injury. As such, a complete spinal cord injury in your lumbar spinal cord could lead to paralysis below the waist, but preserve movement in the upper body. Generally, in the days following a spinal cord injury, the symptoms of a complete and incomplete spinal cord injury are not distinguishable. However, as time passes, the differences between the two will become apparent. Some of the most common symptoms of a complete spinal cord injury include:

  • Loss of sensation below the site of your injury
  • Total loss of motion below the injury site
  • Issues controlling your bowls and bladder
  • In cases where the injury is located high up the spinal cord, you might experience problems breathing on your own

What is an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

If you sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury, the function of your spinal cord will only be partially compromised and the symptoms you experience will vary more. If your spinal cord injury was caused by trauma, such as a gunshot wound, you might face obstacles that are rather similar to what a patient with a complete spinal cord injury would face. Other common characteristics of this type of spinal cord injury include:

  • Retained sensation below the injury site, though the feelings might come and go and are often weaker than the ones you previously experienced
  • The ability to move some muscles below the injury site
  • Pain below the site of the injury

Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys in Tulsa

Spinal cord injuries not only impact the life of the injured person, but the lives of that person’s family, causing great distress to more than one person. If you sustained a spinal cord injury due to another party’s negligent actions, you need to obtain skilled legal counsel to fight on your behalf for fair and just compensation. At Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC, our catastrophic injury attorneys are backed by a proven track record of success that includes over $100 million recovered on behalf of our clients in a variety of record-breaking settlements and verdicts.

Get started on your spinal cord injury case today and reach out to our law firm at (918) 347-6456 to request a free initial case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys. You will not owe us any legal fees until we win your case!