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Causes and Side Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury and Its Lasting Effects

Trauma from any incident can lead to a spinal cord injury. The most common causes, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, include:

  • Vehicle crashes  (38 percent of spinal cord injury cases)
  • Falls  (30 percent of spinal cord injury cases)
  • Acts of violence (14 percent of spinal cord injury cases)
  • Recreational activities (nine percent of spinal cord injury cases)
  • Other causes contribute to the remaining nine percent of spinal cord injuries.

Lasting Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Every spinal cord injury is considered either complete or incomplete. In individuals with a complete spinal cord injury, the nerves below the injury site can no longer communicate with the brain, which means they are paralyzed from that location downward. An incomplete spinal cord injury refers to instances in which the affected nerves can still send signals to the brain. People with an incomplete injury may still be able to move and experience sensation in some capacity.


The severity of a person’s paralysis after a spinal cord injury depends on where the damage happened. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, results from an injury to the spinal cord in the neck area. It is associated with loss of muscle strength and feeling in the arms and the legs. Paraplegia results from an injury to the spinal cord in the torso area. The result is paralysis of the legs and the lower part of the body.

Pressure Sores

Also known as bedsores, pressure sores are the most frequent complications of paralysis. In fact, 15 percent of people with a spinal cord injury report having pressure sores during their first year with the injury. That number increases as time goes on.

Blood Clots

People who are stationary due to a spinal cord injury are also at an increased risk for suffering from blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which starts in the leg, is of particular concern. The blood clot can dislodge and travel to a more dangerous area of the body, including the lungs (a life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism).

Getting Legal Help

A spinal cord injury turns life upside down. What was once a simple task may now be impossible. Only one-third of individuals with a spinal cord injury return to work. Many need round-the-clock assistance. When a spine injury results from someone else’s careless behavior, we at CaseyGerry can hold them accountable and seek compensation for the unexpected medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. If this happened to you or your family member, we welcome you to call our firm at (619) 238-1811 to discuss the next steps.

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