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What factors may impact recovery after a spinal cord injury?

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Spinal cord injuries can impact people in different ways. There are several factors that might have an effect on how a person's abilities change after the injury. Trying to find out as much as you can about your injury can help as you embark upon the therapy process.

One factor that has a significant impact on how the injury will heal is the type of injury. Spinal cord injuries are divided into two broad classifications - incomplete and complete. An incomplete injury has some feeling or movement below the level of the injury. A complete injury doesn't have either of these. Typically, incomplete injuries are associated with a greater recovery than complete ones.

How does the level of the injury affect recovery?

The location of the injury matters because this plays a role in how much of the body is impacted. Injuries that are in the cervical spinal cord area can cause quadriplegia, which means all four limbs are paralyzed. These also affect the organs in the trunk, which means that you might have trouble breathing. Your body temperature, bladder and bowels might be affected by an injury in this area.

Just below the cervical spine is the thoracic spine. This is the area that's even with the chest. Typically, the arms aren't affected by injuries at this level because they are above the level of the injury. Impacts to the trunk and paralysis of the legs are possible.

Down the spinal cord a bit is the lumbar spine, which is in the lower back. Injuries to this level are likely going to affect the legs, and some sexual dysfunction is possible with injuries at this level or higher.

What can victims of these injuries do to try to enhance recovery?

In some cases, there isn't much the victim can do to enhance recovery, but prompt medical care is always a good idea. Sometimes, starting therapy as quickly after the spinal cord injury as possible can help to retrain the area of the body that was impacted. The therapy can be costly and time-consuming, so victims might opt to pursue a claim for compensation.

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