A spinal cord injury ...

  • usually begins with a blow that fractures or dislocates your vertebrae, the bone disks that make up your spine
  • most injuries don't sever your spinal cord
  • damage is caused when pieces of vertebrae tear into cord tissue or press down on the parts of nerves that carry signals

A spinal cord injury is either defined as complete or incomplete:


  • complete: if all feeling and motor function is lost below the neurological level


  • incomplete: if there is some motor or sensory function below the affected area

Paralysis from a spinal cord injury is referred to as:


  • Tetraplegia or quadriplegia: arms, trunk, legs and pelvic organs are all affected by your spinal cord injury
  • Paraplegia: paralysis affects all or part of legs, trunk and pelvic organs

Signs and Symptoms:



  • loss of movement
  • loss of sensation, including ability to feel heat, cold and touch
  • loss of bowel or bladder control
  • exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
  • changes in sexual function, sensitivity and fertility
  • pain or intense stinging sensation
  • difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from lungs

Common causes of spinal cord injuries:



  • motor vehicle accidents: leading cause of spinal cord injuries, account of 40% of new cases a year
  • acts of violence: account for 15% of spinal cord injuries, often involving knife or gun wounds
  • falls: most common cause among individuals over 65
  • sports/recreation activities: especially diving into shallow water
  • alcohol: play a part in 1 out of 4 spinal cord injuries
  • diseases: cancer, arthritis, and osteoporosis can also cause injuries to the spinal cord

Treatment possibilities:



  • Medication: Medrol can reduce damage to nerve cells and decrease inflammation for acute spinal cord injury when given within eight hours of injury
  • Immobilization: traction aids to stabilize the spine and bring it into proper alignment
  • Surgery: can be used to remove bone fragments compressing on the spine or stabilize the spine to prevent future pain
  • Rehabilitation: form of on-going care with physical therapists and other doctors to aid in the recovery process
  • Experimental treatments
  • There is however no way to reverse damage to the spinal cord, but multiple methods of treatment and support.




  • Drive safely
  • Wear a seat belt every time you're in a vehicle
  • Don't drive while or ride with someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Be safe with firearms
  • Prevent falls
  • Take precautions when playing sports
  • Check water depth, don't dive into shallow water

Have You Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury?

If you've been hurt and suffered a spinal cord injury you should speak with a spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our ConwayMyrtle BeachMurrells InletMt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.