Types of Work-Related Spinal Cord Injuries

Every year in the United States, there are approximately 17,500 new spinal cord injuries, and this does not include people who died on the spot from these injuries. Fifty-four out of every one million Americans suffer spinal cord injuries yearly, and more than half of them are between the ages of 16-30. 

Work-related spinal cord injuries are dreadful and frequently incapacitating. If you experienced a spinal cord injury at work, you should contact a Washington D.C. spinal cord injury lawyer right away. They can guide you through what legal options are available for your compensation.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are two forms of spinal cord injuries:

  1. Complete spinal cord injuries
  2. Incomplete spinal cord injuries

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

These are rare and often result in severe injuries and symptoms. This occurs when the spinal cord is damaged, and the capacity of the brain to send impulses below the site of the injury is non-existent. It usually causes total paralysis below the lesion site. 

The most common types of complete SCIs are:

Tetraplegia (quadriplegia)

This occurs when the cervical spinal cord is injured, resulting in paralysis. This is the most severe SCI, also known as quadriplegia. It obliterates any chance of movement below the injured location. 

Survivors of this injury have challenges with breathing and bladder control. The symptoms get more severe the higher up the location of the injury is on the cervical spinal cord.


This occurs when there is damage to the thoracic spinal cord. It results in loss of movement in the lower half of the body. The symptoms also get more severe the higher the site of damage is on the thoracic spinal cord. Sometimes, sensations in the lower half of the body are eliminated.


Triplegia, which results from incomplete spinal cord damage, involves a loss of feeling and motion in one arm and both legs.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries 

This is the most common type of spinal cord injury. More than 60% of all SCIs are incomplete. The spinal cord is compressed or partially damaged, and the brain’s capacity to send impulses below the lesion site is greatly impaired. An incomplete SCIs is said to have occurred when parts below the damaged body part continue to function. The level of damage may vary from one person to another. 

Some people may have partial loss of sensory and motor functions, while others may experience a total loss. Because incomplete spinal cord injuries are more prevalent, there has been enhanced research, resulting in better treatment options. 

The most common types of incomplete spinal cord injuries are:

Anterior cord syndrome

This is an injury to the front of the spinal cord. It causes damage to both the sensory and motor pathways. People who suffer from this have difficulties with movement but may still retain some sensitivity below the injured part.

Central cord syndrome

This is an injury to the center of the cord. This causes damage to the nerves that convey stimuli to and from the brain. People who suffer from this may experience paralysis in the arms, loss of motor skills, and loss of bowel and bladder control. They may also lose the capacity to function sexually.

Brown-Sequard syndrome

This is an injury to one side of the spinal cord. The result of the damage may be more obvious on one side of the body than the other. For example, it may be possible to make full movements on the right side of the body and not be able to move any parts of the left side at all. The extent of the damage in patients also varies greatly.

Common Ways Work-Related Spinal Injuries Occur

Many spinal cord injuries that occur at work due to repetitive heavy lifting or mistakes operating machinery/machinery failing to work correctly. It’s also common for individuals who drive for a living – such as truck drivers – to receive spinal cord injuries due to car accidents while they are working.

Contact Us Today

If you have experienced a spinal cord injury while working, it’s important to contact a Washington D.C. spine and back injury attorney right away. Lightfoot Law PLLC is always here to help.