September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month in North America. As Toronto spinal cord injury lawyers, we are always eager to educate the community about the dangers of these injuries, the many ways that they can occur, and the best ways they can be avoided.
What is the Spinal Cord?
Many people assume that the spinal cord and the spine are synonymous. In reality, the spine encloses and protects the spinal cord, a long bundle of nerves running from the base of the brain to the lower back. The spinal cord is the superhighway through which your brain sends messages and receives information from the rest of the body.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO) defines a spinal cord injury as “sustained damage to the spinal cord at any part of it, or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal.” In other words, a spinal cord injury disrupts the flow of information along the spinal superhighway. As spinal cord injury lawyers know, these injuries can be extremely traumatic, affecting a person’s strength, motor ability, and sensation.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. As its name suggests, an incomplete spinal cord injury disrupts communication between the brain and the body but does not cut it off completely. In these cases, the injury survivor may experience some feeling or limited movement in the affected parts of the body.
Complete spinal cord injuries cut off all communication between the brain and the affected areas of the body. The area that is affected depends on the location of the injury. For example, a complete spinal cord injury toward the base of the cord may only affect movement and sensation below the waist, while an injury closer to the neck could affect the whole body.
How Common are Spinal Cord Injuries in Canada?
According to the Rick Hansen Institute, approximately 86,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury in Canada, a number that is expected to rise to 121,000 by 2030. There are roughly 4,300 new spinal cord injuries in Canada each year, with males aged 20 to 29 being the most at-risk group.
Canadians with spinal cord injuries are 2.6 times more likely to be re-hospitalized than the general population, 2.7 times more likely to require contact with a physician, 30 times more likely to require home care, and live 15 to 30 fewer years.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
The Rick Hansen Institute calls spinal cord injuries “one of the greatest survivable catastrophes experienced by a human being.” A traumatic spinal cord injury can present massive challenges to the victim and his or her family: in addition to the obvious physical impacts, spinal cord injury victims also face mental, emotional, and financial hurdles. Experienced spinal cord injury lawyers can help address some of these challenges by pursing compensation through a personal injury claim. If you or a member of your family has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
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