What is the Difference Between Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries?

Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the nerved in the spinal canal. Most of them are caused by some form of trauma to the vertebrae, which interferes with the spinal cord’s ability to send and receive messages from the brain to the body’s systems. These systems control motor, sensor and autonomic (involuntary) function below the level of the injury. Depending on the amount of sensation a person is left with, medical personnel refer to either complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries.

What is the Difference Between Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries?

  • Incomplete Injury has some sensation or motor function below the level of injury. It indicates the spinal cord was not completely damaged or disrupted in the accident.
  • Complete Injury means that nerve damage has obstructed all the signals coming from the brain to the body parts below the injury.

Recovery of Function After a Spinal Injury

There is always hope that an injured person will recover function after a spinal cord injury has occurred. Generally speaking, people who have incomplete injuries are more likely to get some recovery of function.

The sooner muscles start moving again, the better the chances for additional recovery following a spinal cord injury. When muscle function comes back after the first several weeks post-accident, it is more likely to be in the arms than in the legs.

As long as there is some improvement in muscle function and additional muscles are recovering function post-accident, there is a chance that more improvement is possible. The longer that there is no improvement, the less likely it is that improvement will continue on its own.

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, speak to one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Conte Associates by calling 1-877-614-0008. Based in Vaughan and Whitby/Oshawa, Conte & Associates works with clients in Vaughn and Whitby and in the following cities in Ontario: Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Clarington, Newcastle, Courtice, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Port Perry, Belleville, and Peterborough.



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