Where do spinal cord injuries occur?

There are three areas of the spinal column where a spinal cord injury can occur:

  • Cervical spinal cord: When the eight vertebrae (C1 – C8) in this area are injured, the impact can be on the motor and organ functions, as well as the sensory nerves below the top of the rib cage are affected, resulting in quadriplegia.
  • Thoracic spinal cord: When the 12 vertebrae (T1 – T12) in this area are injured, the impact can be on the trunk of the body and movement in the lower part of the body.
  • Lumbar spinal cord: When the five vertebrae (L1 – L5) in this area are injured, the impact can be on the sensations of the lower body, affecting bladder control, bowel control, and sexual function.  
Randall E. Appleton
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