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Can a car crash result in paralysis?

If you injure your back in a Missouri car crash, you could spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Exactly how severe your paralysis could be depends on the area of your back where your injuries occur.

As explained by Brain and Spinal Cord, your spinal cord consists of the following four regions:

  1. Cervical region – the region from the base of your brain to the lower portion of your neck
  2. Thoracic region – the region from the bottom of your neck to your waist
  3. Lumbar region – the region fom your waist to your lower back
  4. Sacral region – the region from your lower back to your tailbone

Your entire spinal cord contains thousands of nerves that control your body’s voluntary and involuntary movements, as well as your ability to feel sensation throughout your body. When your spinal cord becomes severed, messages cannot get through and your body consequently cannot function properly. The higher up your back injury, the more catastrophic the consequences.

Paraplegia and quadriplegia

The two major forms of paralysis you could suffer as a result of a car crash back injury consist of paraplegia and quadriplegia. If your spinal cord injury occurs below your first thoracic vertebra, you likely will lose movement and sensation in your legs, as well as in your bladder, bowel, sexual areas and many areas of your chest.

If your spinal cord injury occurs above your first thoracic vertebra, your resulting paralysis is even more severe. Not only do you lose the same body movements and sensations as in paraplegia, you also lose them in your hands, arms and shoulders. As a result, you may not be able to move anything other than your head. In addition, you may need mechanical ventilation assistance in order to breath and speak.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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