Many people automatically associate spinal cord injuries with some degree of paralysis. This is sometimes the case with complete injuries but it isn’t necessarily the case when the injury is incomplete. Understanding the difference in these two types of spinal injuries might be beneficial if you or someone close to you suffers this type of injury.
The main difference between the two is that a complete injury means there is no feeling or ability to move the body below the level of the injury. In an incomplete injury, there is some sensation or function below the place of injury on the spinal cord. Below is some important information if you are diagnosed with a spinal cord injury:
The type of injury you have can impact how you recover from it. Those with incomplete injuries typically have a better chance of regaining more function than those who suffer from complete spinal cord injuries.
In many cases, getting treatment right away can improve the chances of recovery. Swelling and other risks can exacerbate the impacts of the injury. Additionally, starting physical therapy quickly might also improve your chances of a better recovery.
The cost of a spinal cord injury is high. Incomplete injuries are less expensive than complete injuries, and those higher on the spinal cord are more costly.
According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a person who has a C1 to C4 injury that results in tetraplegia can expect to have costs totaling around $1,064,716 in the first year and $184,891 each year after. People with incomplete injuries will likely require $347,484 in the first year and $42,206 in subsequent years.
These estimated costs only include medical care and related expenses. They don’t include factors like lost wages or benefits.
Life is going to change if your injury was serious. Paralysis can mean that you need a lot of help with personal matters, which can be difficult to accept. You likely will have to find new ways to do things. Therapy, which can include physical, occupational and other types, can help you to learn the skills and adaptations that can help you live the best life possible given the circumstances.