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Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The causes of spinal cord injuries can be numerous, and the consequences of an injury can also vary greatly. A spinal cord injury – any type of damage to the cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal – can result in a change in the cord’s normal function and can be temporary or permanent. These injuries often result in changes in body function, including strength and sensation, below the site of the injury.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are:

  • Vehicular accidents – Accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, aircraft, and other types of vehicles are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States, accounting for more than 39 percent of all injuries.
  • Falls – Nearly 30 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by falls.
  • Acts of violence – Gunshot wounds, stabbings, and other types of assault account for more than 14 percent of injuries.
  • Sports and recreational activities – More than eight percent of injuries result from sports including diving, skiing, and football.

Less common causes of spinal cord injuries include diseases such as polio or spina bifida. If the spine has been weakened by arthritis or another condition, minor injuries can also sometimes lead to spinal cord trauma.

At Tampa General Hospital, our team of spinal cord injury rehabilitation specialists provides comprehensive care for patients and their families. TGH’s team has the skill, knowledge and experience to address the needs of both adult and pediatric spinal cord injury patients, and the Tampa General Rehabilitation Center has been designated a brain and spinal cord injury center by the Florida Department of Health’s Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program.