Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the spinal cord, the largest nerve in the body, which runs from the base of the brain down the middle of the back and are protected by vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries can happen from sudden blows to the spine that fracture, crush or compress vertebrae. Many types of trauma can cause spinal cord injuries, including accidents that happen due to the negligence or carelessness of others.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Vehicle accidents. Car, truck, motorcycle and other vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. About 40 percent of spinal cord injuries happen due to car accidents.
- Falls. Falls case more than 25 percent of spinal cord injuries. According to Mayo, falls are most likely to cause spinal cord injuries in those older than 65.
- Violence: Up to 15 percent of spinal cord injuries happen due to gunshot wounds, knife wounds and other acts of violence.
- Athletic activities. About 8 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by accidents such as diving in shallow water or contact sports.
Not all spinal cord injuries are the result of trauma. Medical conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer or inflammation of the spinal cord can also result in damages to the spinal cord.
Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis of the upper and lower extremities and other damage. These injuries are life-changing and can come with significant physical and emotional challenges.
Source: Mayo Clinic, “Spinal cord injury,” Oct. 22, 2011
- To learn more about spinal cord injuries that are the result of negligence or carelessness, visit the spinal cord injuries page on our website.