What Are the Leading Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?


How Car Crashes and Tractor Trailer Wrecks Contribute to Spinal Cord Injuries

Any type of motor vehicle collision can lead to a spinal cord injury, but certain events are more likely to damage your spinal cord. Among young adults, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

In addition to car crashes and tractor-trailer wrecks; spinal cord injuries can be caused by:

  • Motorcycle wrecks
  • Nursing home incidents
  • Pedestrian accidents (wherein a person is hit by a motor vehicle while in a crosswalk or otherwise)
  • Boating incidents

According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), car crashes account for 31.5% of spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine, so any traumatic incident can cause a spinal cord injury.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Many people also categorize spinal cord injuries by where they take place:

  • Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries take place in the cervical spine (C1-C7), commonly known as the neck. They can cause tetraplegia or quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down) or a myriad of other less serious injuries which can still have lifelong effects.
  • Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries occur in the thoracic spine (T1-T12), or the upper and middle back. They tend to affect the abdominal and lower back muscles and the legs and can result in paraplegia (paralysis from the waist down) or a myriad of other less serious injuries which can still have lifelong effects.
  • Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries happen in the lumbar spine (L1-L5), which is the lowest major portion of the spinal cord (or the lower back). They usually cause some loss of function in the hips and legs, as well as problems with bladder and bowel control. People with lumbar spinal cord injuries may need wheelchairs or assistive devices.
  • Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries unfold in the sacral spine (S1-S5) or sacrum, which sits below the lower back and above the coccyx (tailbone). Like lumbar spinal cord injuries, these injuries can affect the hips and legs, as well as the bladder, bowels, and sex organs. People with sacral spinal cord injuries are usually able to walk but experience severe pain.

Other types of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Herniations: this occurs when the nucleus in the center of the disc pushes out of its normal area and presses against the annulus or spinal cord or nerve roots. Many physicians use this term synonymously with a disk protrusion.
  • Bulging disk: this doesn’t always affect the entire perimeter of a disk but at least a quarter if not half of the disk’s circumference is affected.
  • Cord severing: this is the most serious and will result in paralysis.

Emergency Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back
  • Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Impaired breathing after injury
  • An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back

No matter how severe your spinal cord injury is or where it takes place, this kind of injury can change your life – and not for the better. After a spinal cord injury, you might need special care and devices for everyday activities, and it may be difficult to maintain gainful employment.

How to Get Help

If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, do not give up hope. As many as 450,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury and at least 17,000 people sustain this type of injury each year. With emergency intervention, rehabilitative care, and assistive care and devices, many people with spinal cord injuries go on to live full, happy lives. Some even make a full or partial recovery.

Unfortunately, access to the tools, care, and services you need after spinal cord injuries do not come cheap. If someone else caused your injury, they can be held responsible for the increased expenses (and possible lack of income) you will face moving forward.

If the accident that led to your spinal cord injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, our firm could help you with the financial recovery you need.

Call The Law Office of Joshua W. Branch, LLC at (706) 760-9220 today for a free consultation, or tell us what happened in our confidential online contact form.

There is hope ahead, and we can help you find it – call or click today for the legal help you deserve.