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Can a car crash paralyze you?

If your neck or back becomes injured in a New York car crash, the results could be catastrophic. Depending on the nature and location of your spinal cord injury, you could become paralyzed and have to live in a wheelchair the rest of your life as a paraplegic or quadriplegic.

As Brain and Spinal Cord explains, how much of your body becomes paralyzed as the result of a car crash or any other type of back injury depends on where your injury occurs. The easiest way to understand this is by understanding the four regions of your spinal cord and the respective parts of your body they affect, which are as follows:

  1. Your spine’s cervical region extends from the base of your brain to the lower portion of your neck
  2. Your spine’s thoracic region extends from the bottom of your neck to your waist
  3. Your spine’s lumbar region extends from your waist to your lower back
  4. Your spine’s sacral region extends from your lower back to your tailbone

As you know, the nerves located in your spine control not only the voluntary and involuntary movements your body can make, but also the sensations you feel in your body. If your spinal cord becomes severed in an accident, you likely will lose much, if not all, of your ability to move and feel below your point of injury.

Paraplegia versus quadriplegia

The two main types of paralysis you could suffer as the result of a spinal cord injury are paraplegia, which affects your lower body, including your legs and feet, or quadriplegia, which affects your upper body, including your arms, hands and much or all of your torso, as well as your lower body. In either type of paralysis, you cannot walk except possibly with the aid of heavy braces and crutches or canes. Nor can you control your bladder or bowel. In the most severe forms of quadriplegia, you may not even be able to breaths on your own and require a ventilator.

This is general educational information only and not intended as legal advice.

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