The Anatomy of a Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury Nerve Anatomy Picture Making Sense of the Complex SCI Anatomy

Approximately 270,000 Americans have experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and are contending with the aftermath now. The consequences of a major injury to the spinal cord dramatically alter the life of the wounded and family members. The results of a SCI sadly vary in severity from loss of function of limbs, partial to complete paralysis, depending on which part of the spinal cord was injured.

The Basic Anatomy of the Spine

The spinal cord and brain are the components of the central nervous system. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down to about the waist. A column of protective bones, known as vertebrae, surrounds this bundle of nerves. The spinal cord is responsible for sending brain signals to the different body parts, which makes your hand move, your legs walk, and the other bodily movements you make. The spine consist a lot of different components such as the vertebrae, nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and the discs, that are positioned in between vertebrae, which enables your back to be flexible enough to bend and lean in different directions. The whole of your spine starts from the lowest portion of the skull, down to the tailbone.

The Regions of the Spinal Cord

The spinal cord, just like the bone structure that supports it (spinal column), is also divided into several regions. Each region is further divided into smaller portions, where each portion is designed to render a specific function. Please see the information below:


Spinal cord injury nerve anatomy diagram

  1. Cervical Nerves– this region is further divided into several portions that give sensation to the following:
    • Head and neck
    • Diaphragm
    • Biceps
    • Wrists
    • Triceps
    • Hands
  2. Thoracic Nerves– this region is the one responsible for the proper breathing and chest movements. Portions that are covered within this region are the:
    • Chest muscles
    • Abdominal muscles
  3. Lumbar Nerves– this region is the one responsible for giving sensation to the majority of the lower body parts such as:
    • Leg muscles
    • Pelvis
    • Bowel movements
    • Bladder
    • Feet
    • Lower abdomen
  4. Sacral & Coccyx Nerves– this is the lowest region of the spinal cord. It is the one responsible for sensations such as the ones felt at the following:
    • Bowel
    • Bladder
    • Sexual organs

 The lateral cervical spine. Spinal column stability after traumatic injury is often based on a system that divides the spine into four longitudinal lines from anterior to posterior, starting with the anterior edge of the vertebral body (AV), the posterior edge of the vertebral body (PV), the spinolaminar junction (SL), and the tips of the spinous process (SP). Each line provides the border for three columns (I, II, and III). Disruption of two or more of these columns indicates spinal instability.

Spinal Cord Injury

When a person is diagnosed with a spinal cord injury means there is damage to regions of his or her spinal nerves and effects will depend on which portion of the spinal cord is disrupted. According to medical records, one of the most common of all types of spinal cord injury is the one with damaged cervical nerves that can cause complete paralysis. In fact, it has been accounted that in the US alone, there is an approximate count of 5,000 people having cervical nerve damage every year, due to motor accidents, sports, unexpected fall, and more.

Get Help with Your SCI Case

After a spinal cord injury, the last thing you want to do is worry about having to make a case to your insurance company or other potential parties at fault. With over thirty years of experience as a SCI lawyer, we have the knowledge and resources to handle the most complex spinal cord injury cases. We provide our services on a contingency basis which means our fees are paid from the settlement so you have no upfront costs. If we do not win you owe us nothing. Contact us today to setup a free initial consultation at (866) 987-4368 or complete the contact form on the right side of this page.

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