Spinal cord injuries are often the result of a blow or trauma to the spine that breaks a vertebra or a disk in your back that in turn damages the spinal cord. An injury to the spinal cord causes changes in its function that can be temporary or permanent. The result can be a loss of muscle function, loss of sensation and loss of autonomic function in parts of the body served by the spinal cord below the level of the injury to the spinal cord.

Symptoms can vary from pain or numbness to temporary or permanent paralysis.


Paraplegia is the term used to describe paralysis (the loss of movements or sensation) that affects the lower extremities (the legs and sometimes the trunk but not the arms). It is the result of damage to the spinal cord at T1 and below.


Quadriplegia is paralysis caused by an illness or injury that results in partial or total loss of sensation and use of, the arms, legs, and torso. It can be the result of an injury to the neck and damage to the cervical spinal cord (C1-C8).

Quadriplegia is also sometimes referred to as tetraplegia.

The Impact of a Spinal Cord Injury

In addition to loss of sensation and motor functions people coping with paraplegia or quadriplegia may experience other symptoms including:

  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Impaired breathing
  • Impaired sexual functioning and impact on fertility (in some cases)
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in the extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet)
  • Problems with low blood pressure and the inability to regulate blood pressure effectively
  • Reduced control over body temperature and sweating
  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional and psychological distress

How CAM LLP Can Help

Spinal cord injuries will affect the quality of your life and create barriers to future living and work options. We help people who have sustained a spinal cord injury with the legal and practical aspects of dealing with the aftermath of a spinal cord injury.

First, we work closely with spinal cord specialists to have the severity of your injury assessed.

Following your assessment, we partner with Edmonton’s leading rehabilitation programs to help you establish an appropriate life care plan. The goal of that plan is to guide you toward your optimal recovery. When you are ready, our involvement extends to exploring options and putting supports in place to help you regain your independence.

At Cummings Andrews Mackay LLP we have the practical and legal experience to work with you as you make your journey toward recovery. We will take care of your personal injury claim at every stage and work toward a fair and reasonable settlement that takes account of your unique situation and needs.

Community Resources for Spinal Cord Injuries

If you, a family member or a loved one is coping with the aftermath of a spinal cord injury there are many resources in the Edmonton area that can provide support and information. In addition to the rehabilitation services available at The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, one of the best starting points is the Spinal Cord Injury Alberta website. Our firm is very proud to support both of these wonderful resources.