If you become the victim of an Oregon car accident in which you injure your neck or back, you could find yourself paralyzed and consigned to a wheelchair for the rest of your life. If you have never consciously thought about it before, you should realize that your spinal cord and the nerves which it contains control the movements you make, both voluntary and involuntary, and the sensations you feel. Your spinal cord extends down your neck and back from your head to your hip area. Any injury it receives can drastically reduce the amount of movement you can make below your point of injury, as well as the amount of feeling, including pain, you can feel in that part of your body.
The Travis Roy Foundation explains that your spinal cord consists of the following four regions:
- Cervical region: the seven vertebrae between your brain’s base and your neck’s bottom
- Thoracic region: the twelve vertebrae between your neck’s bottom and your waist
- Lumbar region: the five vertebrae between your waist and lower back
- Sacral region: the five vertebrae between your lower back and your tailbone
Paraplegia and quadriplegia
The higher up your back injury, the more of your body you will be unable to move or feel sensation in. Paraplegia is the most common type of paralysis and makes you unable to move your legs and feet or feel much, if anything, in them. Depending on whether your spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete, you may retain slight movement and feeling in the lower part of your body, but you will not be able to walk or control your bladder or bowel.
Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, represents a more catastrophic spinal cord injury that occurs in your spinal cord’s cervical or thoracic region. This type of injury affects not only your legs and feet, but also your arms, hands, fingers, and much of your trunk. Should your auto accident render you quadriplegic, you will be unable to move or feel virtually any part of your body except your head. This means you will require constant care in order to do anything, including the following:
- Eat and drink
- Transfer from your bed to your wheelchair and back
- Bathe, brush your teeth and hair, dress yourself, etc.
- Eliminate your body’s wastes
In a worst-case scenario, you may need constant mechanical ventilation to allow you to breathe and speak.
Please do not interpret this general educational information as legal advice.