Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries in Washington DC

Some of the most common back injuries in Washington DC are those that affect the cervical spinal cord. Located at the top of the spine, this area is comprised of the first seven vertebrae from the neck downward. Each section of the cervical spinal cord affects a different part of the upper body, including the diaphragm, which is necessary for breathing.

The spinal cord beneath the cervical vertebrae also controls shoulder and neck movement. Although common among back injuries, trauma to the cervical spinal cord can be severe and even lead to death.

Anatomy of the Cervical Spinal Cord

There are seven vertebrae in total in the cervical area, C1-C7, which make up the entire length of the human neck. The rest of the spinal column is comprised of the thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions.

The most severe injuries to this area can affect breathing and limb mobility. Many people who injure their C1, or top piece of the spinal column, lose the ability to use their diaphragm and need to use a ventilator. When an injury affects the cervical area, it can cause paralysis of all four limbs. These cases are either referred to as tetraplegic or quadriplegic.

Each section of the cervical spinal cord controls a specific part of the upper body. These sections and their associated body parts are:

  • C1: Diaphragm
  • C2-C3: Shoulders
  • C4: Shoulder and small arm extension
  • C5: Biceps
  • C6: Wrist extension
  • C7: Triceps and some finger extension
  • C8: Some hand movement

Common Causes and Symptoms

There are several common ways a person can injure their cervical spinal cord in Washington DC. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of cervical spinal cord injuries, with slips and falls accounting for many cases as well. Gunshot wounds and other violence also rank among the top three common causes of spinal cord injuries.

There are many conditions and symptoms that can follow from a traumatic cervical spinal cord accident. These may include:

  • Paralysis in the arms, legs and hands
  • Impaired or weakened breathing due to paralyzed torso muscles
  • Numbness or tingling throughout the body
  • Inability to control the bladder or bowel 

Treatment and Rehabilitation

The treatment and recovery for cervical spinal cord injuries can take several months up to several years, depending on the severity of the injury. Surgery is typically required, followed by several months of inpatient rehabilitation. Stabilization of the injury site is key before recovery can begin.

Victims of a cervical spine injury may need extensive care and assistance throughout the recovery process. They may have difficulty with everyday tasks, such as getting in and out of bed, dressing, eating, and bathing. Even with rehabilitation, full recovery may be impossible in the most severe cases. Patients may need to adapt to various disabilities following their injuries, such as through the use of a powered wheelchair or home modifications.

Seek a DC Attorney for Your Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

If you have suffered a cervical spinal cord injury from an accident, consider contacting a Washington DC attorney as soon as possible. A damaged cervical spinal cord can have severe consequences and require extensive and costly medical care. Call an experienced legal professional to discuss your options for financial assistance and potential compensation for your injuries.