Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Brad Nakase, Attorney


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The thoracic part of the spine is the area of your entire torso.


What should one expect after suffering a thoracic spine injury?

Many people who have thrown their back out do not think about their thoracic spine.

On many occasions, people sleep wrong or lift heavy weights in a manner that is not correct; hence, they experience a temporary back problem. In most cases, it is the muscle that is affected rather than bone tissue.

Usually, you know when you throw your back out. You can feel pain in the lower or middle part of your back. You are often couch ridden for a couple of days.

Contrarily, actual thoracic injuries are much less prevalent as the ribs protect a lot of that length of your spine. A direct blow to the spine, or extreme force in that area, such as an object falling on you, would be needed to cause a thoracic injury. These types of injuries are surprisingly less damaging than those that occur in the lumbar region or the cervical region of your spine.


What is the function of the thoracic region of the spine?

A delicate stream of nerves is contained in12 vertebrae in the thoracic region of your spine. They provide protection and transmit messages from your body to your brain. Anytime you move your stomach, torso, or back you are using the thoracic region of your spine.


What is the effect of a damaged thoracic spinal region?

Most severe cases of a broken back involve damage to the thoracic area of the spine.

Some physical ailments may alter the normal functioning of the thoracic spine. These include:

  • Disc degeneration (reduction or breakage of cushion between vertebrae)
  • Bone spurs (extra bone growth)
  • Scoliosis (the spine curves in an abnormal way or is too straight)
  • Kyphosis (hunched back)
  • Spinal stenosis (spinal canal gets narrowed)
  • Spondylosis (spinal arthritis)
  • Compression fractures of the vertebrae (from breaks or injury).

Some of the changes listed above are a result of typical aging as the fluid between the discs decreases.

A fracture in any of the thoracic vertebrae results in limited movements. A buildup of calcium in the bones may create arthritic constraints after fractures. It may be much harder to twist, move, and bend. The probable outcome is permanent pain in your back.

Since it is difficult to commit to full rest when you experience injury to your back, limitations are likely to develop in these fractures as they heal. However, some patients fully recover from their injury.

Nevertheless, the outcome is usually better than those who have suffered injuries to the cervical or lumbar region. An injury to the cervical area may significantly limit the motion of the upper parts of the body. An injury to the lumbar area could cause partial or complete paralysis of the legs, depending on the location of the wound.

About 75 percent to 90 percent of injuries suffered to the spine happen with no damage to the cord. Usually, this is just a fracture. If doctors are unable to catch and heal the fracture early on, it may result in the bones not realigning correctly, also known as malunion. Calcification may develop in these areas, sometimes over nerves. It could take up to twelve weeks for your back to heal. This lengthy period is what often leads to incorrect healing and more compression fractures occurring.

Intractable pain in the spinal column is distinct from throwing out your back. The pain is continuous and unbearable. The patient may be unable to return to work if their job is physical. It might even be challenging to work at a desk job. Currently, there are no treatments except pain management and core strengthening exercises. Unfortunately, the patient may have to make a change in their lifestyle.


What else can I learn about the thoracic spinal column?

The highest amount of injuries to the thoracic region of the spine happen in the lower half, near the T11 and T12 vertebrae. These injuries usually lead to paraplegia.

The middle body is controlled by the upper half of the thoracic vertebrae (T1 through T8). An injury to this region could have an impact on the functions of the chest and the abdomen. The nerves here are responsible for speaking, swallowing, and coughing, so harm to that region may make it difficult even to breathe. While the nerves in the cervical area of the spine (C6 and C7) are responsible for the healthy functions of the arms and hands, damage to the upper chest and torso could reduce their functioning.

People may still be able to experience an independent life even though they have suffered an injury to their thoracic spine. They may require assistance from medical modifications and devices such as walkers. An individual could walk again if he/she experienced injuries higher up in the thoracic region alone.

However, wounds to the vertebrae in betweenT9 and T12 could lead to paraplegia and back muscle harm. These patients could lead an independent life with some alterations. A wheelchair may be necessary, and special devices may need to be added to their car. They may even need to learn again how to take care of themselves.

I think I have just had a thoracic spinal cord injury. What are the necessary measures I should take?

Stop all movement. You may think it’s not that bad, but stay still. In these circumstances, it’s best to be extra careful. Call 911 right away. To prevent further injury, they may strap you to a rigid board to transport you to the hospital. It is advisable to stay calm so as not to cause further damage.

At a medical facility, doctors will carry out tests such as X-Rays or MRIs to identify the harm. They will decide next steps after seeing the results of these tests. Surgery may be needed to decrease inflammation and aid in fracture realignment. The use of hardware may be an option to make the region stronger.

The spinal cord defines life for everyone; thus, injuries to the spinal cord could suddenly alter the life of a patient.

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References:

Thoracic Vertebrae

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