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Thoracic Spine Injuries, And How To Recover From Them
There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, each with a pair of nerves traveling from them to parts of the body. The thoracic vertebrae are located below the shoulder and above the hip. The nerves exiting the top two thoracic vertebrae (T1 and T2) control signals to the inside of the arm. The remaining thoracic nerves (T3 to T12) control nerve signals to the rest of the trunk.
Injuries to the thoracic spine are most common in car and other motor vehicle accidents, as well as sports injuries. Occasionally a whiplash case with brachial plexus injuries can involve the thoracic nerve, resulting in paralysis.
Thoracic spine injuries can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia, depending upon the level of the injury.
Diagnosing A Thoracic Spine Injury
The spinal cord can be compressed or severed at the point of a spinal fracture. The first test a doctor will order is usually an X-ray, followed by a CT scan or an MRI, or both. (CT scans generally show bones better, while MRIs show soft tissue injuries better)
An initial diagnosis is made when the patient is first admitted to the hospital, but the maximum medical improvement that a person achieves will not be known until swelling of the spinal cord has gone down and he or she has undergone rehabilitation. Steroids are used to reduce swelling, and the injured person will be immobilized for a period of time. If a bone fracture or fragment is pressing on the nerve, the patient will also have to undergo surgery.
The Importance Of Rehabilitation With Thoracic Spine Injury
While spine injuries can result in lasting paralysis or disability, in many spine injury cases a person can experience one or two levels of improvement through early rehabilitative therapy. This can make a significant difference in functioning in daily life. It’s important that the injured person be able to get vital physical and occupational therapy.
Full And Fair Compensation In Thoracic Spine Injury Cases
The San Francisco spinal cord injury lawyers at Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP work closely with clients to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate medical and rehabilitation treatment. Our experience handling serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries, and our access to medical and investigative experts have contributed to our extensive track record of successful results for past clients.
To learn more, contact a personal injury attorney at our law firm to schedule a free initial consultation. Or call us at 415-421-7995 or toll-free at 888-745-2988.