HOME COMMUNITY SPINAL INJURY FACT SHEETS RESEARCH MOBILITY LEISURE



 

Spinal-Injury.net :  Causes of Spinal Cord Injury


 

Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

The most common causes of spinal cord injury is a broken neck or back neck (causing damage to the bones of the spine that surround the spinal cord). This often results in damage to the nerves of the spinal cord inside the spinal column. This is known as ‘traumatic’ injury. Traumatic spinal cord injury may be caused by:

Road traffic accidents, domestic and work-related accidents, sports injuries, self-harm, assault or complications following surgery e.g., corrective surgery for spinal deformity e.g. scoliosis.

SCI can also be caused by so-called ‘non-traumatic’ cord injury. Examples include:

Infection of the spinal nerve cells (bacterial and viral), cysts or tumours pressing on the spinal cord, interruption of the blood supply to the spinal cord (causing cord damage), congenital medical conditions (i.e. present since birth) that affect the structure of the spinal column e.g., spina bifida.

Resultant Disability from these causes of spinal cord injury
Quadriplegia, incomplete 31.2% - Paraplegia, complete 28.2% - Paraplegia, incomplete 23.1% - Quadriplegia, complete 17.5%

Facts and Figures from these causes of spinal cord injury
Traumatic injuries account for the largest percentage of SCIs.  Road traffic accidents account for the largest cause of spinal cord injuries worldwide.

In the USA violence accounts for the next largest cause of spinal cord injuries with which result primarily from gunshot wounds. This category has steadily risen over the last years there while motor vehicle crashes and sport related injuries have declined.

Falls and sporting activities make up the smallest group of causes of spinal cord injuries in the USA,  However, within the sporting activity category, diving accidents cause the overwhelming majority of all spinal cord injuries that are sports related.

In the UK 2-3 people every day become paralysed as a result of spinal cord injury. That is 700+ each year adding to the 40,000 living here that are already paralysed. The figures for incomplete injuries may indeed be much higher because they don't take account of those people who have been treated by general hospitals instead of a specialist spinal injuries unit.  Today advances in medical knowledge and patient management at the scene of an injury mean a lot more people will survive an SCI. 

Our statistics are very similar to the USA (see chart)  Road traffic accidents are still the biggest cause of traumatic cord injuries.  SCI from gun crime although more prevalent today than ever is far lower than the American figure. 

Since 1988, 45% of all injuries have been complete, 55% incomplete. Complete injuries result in total loss of sensation and function below the injury level. Incomplete injuries result in partial loss. "Complete" does not necessarily mean the cord has been severed. Each of the above categories can occur in paraplegia and quadriplegia.

Except for the incomplete-Preserved motor (functional), no more than 0.9% fully recover, although all can improve from the initial diagnosis. Overall, slightly more than 1/2 of all injuries result in quadriplegia. However, the proportion of quadriplegics increase markedly after age 45, comprising 2/3 of all injuries after age 60 and 87% of all injuries after age 75.
92% of all sports injuries result in quadriplegia.

Most people with neurologically complete lesions above C-3 die before receiving medical treatment. Those who survive are usually dependent on mechanical respirators to breathe.

50% of all cases have other injuries associated with the spinal cord injury.

A breakdown of the causes of sporting related spinal cord injuries worldwide reveals the following: 

Diving 66.0% - Rugby & American Football 6.1% - Winter Sports 6.1% - Surfing 3.1% - Trampoline 2.6% - Wrestling 2.3% - Gymnastics 2.2% - Horseback Riding 2.0% - Other 9.6%


Tetraplegia - Paraplegia - Complete SCI - Incomplete SCI - Treatment - Complications - Causes of SCI - My Injury
 

  Back to top

Spinal-Injury.net :  Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

 

 
HOME COMMUNITY SPINAL INJURY FACT SHEETS RESEARCH MOBILITY LEISURE

Copyright © 2002-2015 Spinal-Injury Network. All rights reserved. Cookie Policy