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An overview of spinal injuries

One of the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of the human body is the spine. The spinal cord contains nerves that connect from the brain to the rest of the body. Protecting the nerves are vertebrae, which are rings of bone that form the back bone or spinal column.

There are many ways that a spinal cord injury could occur. Such injuries are often serious, and could lead to long-term or life-long ramifications for the victim. Common causes of spinal cord injuries include but are limited to: accidents, such as slip and falls; motor vehicle accidents; sports injuries; construction accidents; or diseases such as spina bifida or polio. It is also possible that illnesses to other parts of the body could lead to a spinal cord injury.

There are different types of spinal cord injuries. Complete injuries will usually leave a victim with no voluntary movement below the level of the injury. Incomplete injuries mean that that the victim has some level of function even after the injury.

Considering the severity of many spinal cord injuries, it is not uncommon for a victim to lose the ability to function normally. This could mean many life-altering challenges, including the inability to maintain gainful employment. This is why spinal cord injuries are among the listed conditions that could result in an award of Social Security Disability benefits for injuries. Anyone suffering from an injury or illness that is expected to last at least a year, or ultimately end in death, may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits to provide some financial relief while a victim is out of work.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Spinal Cord Injury and Pain," Accessed May 29, 2017

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