| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury
how does a spinal cord injury affect the brain

Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe. They can be permanent and life-changing. They may affect your ability to work and enjoy the things you love.

Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis, weakness, and excruciating pain. You may even lose your independence.

But how does a spinal cord injury affect the brain?

The spinal cord and brain are interconnected. Spinal cord injuries can harm your brain health and can contribute to neurological impairments.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a spinal cord injury, contact the experienced catastrophic injury attorneys at Peerali Law. We will treat you like family and fight to hold negligent parties responsible for the harm they caused you.

How Are the Spinal Cord and Brain Connected?

The brain and spinal cord comprise your body’s nervous system. The nervous system is your body’s command center, controlling many facets of how your body functions. The brain sends signals to the spinal cord and the rest of the body and tells them what to do.


The brain is the organ that controls the body’s cognitive functions and is located inside your skull. Functions of the brain include:

  • Thinking processes,
  • Memory,
  • Emotions,
  • Movement,
  • Balance,
  • Coordination,
  • Speech,
  • Comprehension,
  • Organ function, and
  • Perception.

Any injury to the brain can cause catastrophic impairments that can severely jeopardize the normalcy of your life. 

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is the collection of nerves running from the brain down your back. They are encased in the vertebral column. The brain uses the spinal cord to transmit signals to the rest of the body.

Functions of the spinal cord include the following:

  • Control body movements. The spinal cord transmits signals to other body parts that enable movements such as walking.
  • Transmit sensory reports. The spinal cord informs the brain about pain, heat, and cold sensations.
  • Control reflexes. The spinal cord also controls some bodily reflexes.

An injury to your spinal cord can impact your quality of life. Read on to learn how your spinal cord injury can affect your brain.

How Does a Spinal Cord Injury Affect the Brain?

Injuries to the spinal cord can affect the brain in a number of troubling ways.


A spinal injury can damage nerves in the spinal cord. This damage can even cause temporary or permanent paralysis. There are five types of paralysis:

  • Monoplegia—movement in one part of the body is impaired.
  • Quadriplegia—movement below the neck is impaired.
  • Paraplegia—movement in the lower body is impaired.
  • Hemiplegia—movement in half of the body is impaired. 
  • Diplegia—movement in the same area on both sides of the body is impaired.

When the nerves in the spinal cord become damaged, they can no longer obey the signals from the brain that tell them to move the corresponding body part. Thus, your spinal cord injury affects your brain’s ability to control your body’s movements. 

Emotional Stress

Emotional stress can have a severe impact on your daily life. Spinal cord injuries can contribute to stress because of their devastating effects on your lifestyle.

You may find simple tasks like walking difficult or even impossible. You may find it hard to do the things you used to love to do, including your job duties and recreational activities. 

This stress can then affect your brain. The lack of interest in life can cause depression. You may also grow anxious about what others think about you and your injuries. You may find it hard to focus.

Prescription Side Effects

Spinal cord injuries can cause excruciating pain and other symptoms. In order to help, your doctor may prescribe various medications to manage your condition. Some of these medications may impact your brain’s function.  

For example, certain medications may make you tired and impair your cognitive thinking. Some medications, such as pain medications, can cause addictions, while others can disrupt your mood balance and cause depression or agitation. 

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

A spinal cord injury can uproot your life. You may turn to different coping mechanisms, including alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can impair your concentration and ability to make decisions. 

For example, alcohol makes it hard for your brain to control balance, memory, speech, and the ability to make sound judgments.

What Are the Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury?

Common causes of spinal cord injuries include the following:

Contact Peerali Law if you or a loved one is involved in an accident. We can help you collect the compensation you deserve.

How Much Compensation Can I Receive for My Spinal Cord Injury?

The aftermath of a spinal cord injury is expensive. You’re facing painful injuries and extensive time off work. California law allows you to recoup these losses from the negligent party who caused your injuries.

You may be able to recover the following expenses and losses:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Loss of income,
  • Loss of earning capacity,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

If your loved one has died as a result of a spinal cord injury, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. A seasoned California personal injury attorney can help you add up your expenses and losses to calculate your damages.

Contact a California Brain Injury Attorney Today

At Peerali Law, our attorneys offer unparalleled legal services and experience. Co-founders Kristopher and Serena Peerali have recovered millions for their clients. 

We understand this is a difficult time. A lawsuit may be the last thing you want to deal with. That’s why we’ll take care of everything from initiating your case until its conclusion. Our attorneys will handle your case with determination and precision.

Contact our offices as soon as possible. Personal injury claims in California must be brought within two years of the accident date.

Don’t lose your opportunity for recovery. Our lawyers can discuss your case and explain your legal options in a free case evaluation.

Author Photo

Kristopher earned his J.D. at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law where he was a member of the Review of Law and Social Justice honors law journal and was awarded several scholastic honors.

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