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Why can damage to the spine be so catastrophic?

Kentucky residents suffer injuries all of the time. Children fall off bikes and swings and suffer cuts, bruises and other minor ailments, while absent-minded adults may kick coffee tables, slice fingers, while cooking, or drop heavy items on their feet. These painful incidents leave victims reeling in pain, but generally with fast and self-directed recoveries.

Injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents can be significantly more serious than the issues just mentioned. The forces at work when two vehicles collide can cause accident victims to suffer broken bones, damage to their organs and even death. Car accidents can also cause significant trauma to one particularly important part of the body: the spinal cord.

The spinal cord is a cord of nerves that runs through a person’s spinal column. The spinal cord is located in the person’s back body and begins at the brain. It then runs down through the neck and back of the person, with nerves extending out from it. Impulses from the brain travel down the spinal cord and into the nerves to make the person’s body move, react and perform necessary functions each and every day.

When the spinal cord is harmed many parts of a victim’s body can be affected. Prior posts on this blog discussed how spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis, but a spinal cord injury can impact more than just a victim’s movement. A high spinal cord injury may prevent a victim from breathing on their own, from controlling their own bowel functions, and from feeling sensations like cold and hot.

Damage to the spinal cord can mean the loss of many other necessary bodily actions and functions. That is what makes spinal cord injuries so catastrophic. Living with a spinal cord injury can be costly and difficult for a suffering accident victim.