Following a motor vehicle accident, spinal cord injuries are among the most severe injuries that a person can endure. If you experience an SCI, it can impact your mobility and quality of life.

Generally, SCIs have four main types of classifications with distinct characteristics.

Complete spinal cord injuries

Between 250,000 and 500,000 people experience SCIs every year, with most occurring due to preventable circumstances, such as car accidents. In high-impact accidents, complete spinal cord injuries become more common. A complete SCI occurs when you experience total sensory and motor function loss below the injury site. The location of the injury determines how extensive the impairment becomes.

Incomplete spinal cord injuries

Incomplete SCI involves some degree of motor and sensory function below the injury. You may retain partial movement, but it depends on the severity of the injury. Incomplete SCIs are more common than complete ones, but the results of the injury can vary widely based on the damage and your response to rehabilitation.


Quadriplegia is paralysis of all four limbs in addition to the torso. Typically, this type of injury happens if you suffer an injury to the cervical region, located in your neck, of your spinal cord. Individuals who experience quadriplegia require rehabilitation and assistive technologies to regain some independence and improve their quality of life.


Paralysis that occurs in the lower half of the body affecting the legs or lower trunk, may constitute paraplegia. Injuries to the thoracic or lumbar region of the spinal cord typically result in paraplegia. Individuals will retain normal upper body function and may require wheelchairs or other mobility aids to maintain independent movement.

Regarding spinal cord injuries, rehabilitation may improve the quality of life for most patients, resulting in better strength and mobility.

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