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Central cord syndrome effects on workers

Minnesota workers who suffer an injury to their spine should rightfully be concerned with more than the direct impact of the injury. The spine is responsible for sending messages between the brain and other locations in the body. An injury to this area of the body can have lasting effects on other portions of the body.

Some spine injuries are considered complete while others are considered incomplete. Central cord syndrome is the most common type of incomplete spine injury. This syndrome is often associated with trauma to the neck vertebrae or from herniation of the vertebral discs. Employees over the age of 50 are more susceptible to suffering from this syndrome because their vertebrae and discs may have weakened over time, causing the spinal column to narrow and contributing to spinal cord compression when their necks are hyper-extended. Individuals who suffer from this syndrome usually experience impairment in the arms, hands and legs. However, this impairment does not usually result in a complete block of information between the nerve fibers and the brain.

Individuals who suffer from this impairment may become paralyzed in their hands and arms. Additionally, they may be able to move their legs in fewer ways than they had before the accident. Other effects including pain to the affected area, loss of sensation at the impaired location of the body and bladder control loss. Each injury is different and the effects are based on the severity of the injury.

Individuals who suffer from this syndrome can expect a life-long amount of treatment as there is not currently a cure for this syndrome. As part of their treatment plan, individuals may undergo surgery and drug therapy. They may choose to pursue a workers' compensation claim so that they may have their medical expenses paid for as well as obtaining benefits for wages that have been lost.

Source: NINDS, "NINDS Central Cord Syndrome Information Page", October 30, 2014

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