Spinal cord injuries can change the lives of people in California. People who have been injured in the spine can face severe damage and lifelong disabilities as a result of an accident. The spine is critical to a person’s ability to walk, use their limbs and manage their muscles. It can be damaged as a result of a number of different types of incidents, including workplace accidents, falls from heights or car crashes. People can understand more about spinal cord injuries by learning more about the thoracic spine.

The thoracic spine is located in the upper and middle sections of the back and includes 12 vertebrae, labeled T-1 through T-12. These numbers relate to specific types of nerves in each section of the spinal cord. The nerves in T-1 through T-5 correspond to abdominal, mid-back and mid-chest muscles. These nerves and muscles help control breathing, the diaphragm, the lungs and the rib cage. On the other hand, T-6 through T-12 have nerves that affect muscles that are important for balance, posture or the ability to cough.

Spinal cord injuries often affect the legs as well as the abdominal and lower back. They often lead to paraplegia, the inability to walk, while arm and hand function usually remain the same. When people are injured in T-6 to T-12, they may be more likely to face bowel and bladder control problems as well. Treatment and outcomes may vary from person to person, depending on existing health status and other injuries.

An injury to the spinal cord can substantially change a person’s life, and he or she may face major medical bills for ongoing treatment. People who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence might work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages, including medical bills and pain and suffering.