Spinal Cord Injuries: An Overview and Leading Causes

Our bodies are magnificent yet fragile machines controlled by muscles, nerves and supported by a complicated skeletal system. It is devastating whenever one or more of these systems fails to perform its primary function, whether caused by age or injury.

Spinal cord injuries are life changing and affect far too many people. Sufferers of a spinal cord accident may be unable to use their legs, care for themselves, or merely live a normal life.

Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the Mayo Clinic, a spinal cord injury may either be traumatic or non-traumatic. Traumatic spinal cord damage is caused by a fracture, dislocation or compression of the vertebrae, but significant damage can also occur weeks after the injury due to swelling or bleeding around the spinal cord.

Leading Causes and Risk Factors in the United States

The Mayo Clinic also reports the leading causes of spinal cord injuries, which include:

  • Car accidents
  • Falls, especially for people over the age of 65
  • Acts of violence including stabbing or gunshots
  • Sports injuries
  • Diseases such as cancer or arthritis
  • Alcohol Use

Additionally, those matching the following characteristics may want to be conscientious about spinal cord injuries:

  • Being a man (four times more likely to suffer spinal cord damage than women)
  • Being involved in certain sports (hockey, football, wrestling, skiing etc.)
  • Have an underlying bone or joint disorder (arthritis or osteoporosis)

Life After a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury not only affects the life of the patient, but their family and friends as well. Daily tasks such as brushing your teeth and walking up stairs suddenly become much more difficult.

However, there is help available to those who have suffered a spinal cord injury. Medical advancements are occurring every day, and many people are entitled to financial compensation for their past pain and future livelihood.

Injured individuals, although it can be difficult to speak about traumatic accidents, should speak candidly with an attorney for an honest assessment about potential legal claims.