Friday, August 6, 2010

All Breaks Are Not Created Equal

I've always been under the impression that if you break your neck/back then you're doomed to be paralyzed. Not so! I'm often amazed at how many people break their necks or their backs, and they literally walk away from the accident unscathed. Or, sometimes people damage their spinal cords and they might be paralyzed for a short while, but then are able to regain most if not all of their movement after only a few short months of rehab. Truly, I've heard many stories about people who to damage their spinal cords and don't become paralyzed. The extent of the damage definitely depends on a case-by-case basis.

When you damage your spinal cord you'll most likely become a quadriplegic or a paraplegic depending on where the damage occurs. If someone breaks their neck at one of the top vertebrae on the spinal column (like me) they're going to have a lot less mobility than someone whose break occurs at a vertebrae further down on the neck where they're going to have a lot more mobility. I know that this is kind of confusing for someone who isn't familiar with spinal cord injuries to understand, so to clarify, you're considered a quadriplegic if you don't have full dexterity of your fingers. You might be a quadriplegic who's paralyzed from the neck down, or you might be a quadriplegic who has full use of your arms, just not the ability to straighten their fingers out. Regardless of whether you're the former, the latter or somewhere in between, you're considered a quadriplegic unless you can straighten your fingers. (There's just a big difference in the abilities of quadriplegics.) How'd I do? Does that make sense?


Ron Cooper said...

Hi Heather,

Nice blog! I’m following you from Boost My Blog Friday. Please follow me back on my blog “Inspire!”


Tyler and Jen said...

Once again Heather, you never cease to amaze me! You are such a beautiful person, inside and out!

Amanda Hood said...

Hi Heather, I've been following your blog since January or so, I really enjoy reading about your experiences. I am a nurse in a Rehabilitation Centre in Fredericton, NB, Canada. Keep up the good work! :0)
Amanda Hood

Kendra said...

My dad broke his C3 vertebrae twice, once when he was 20 and once when he was 24 and married to my mom for only 3 months. Why he was allowed to walk away and you weren't is something that God has to answer but I am so uplifted by your positive spirit through it all!

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