What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?

Damage to the spinal cord can occur in a variety of ways, although the most common cause is due to external trauma. While not nearly as common, non-traumatic injury to the spinal cord is a possibility from causes such as tumors, blood loss, or a stenosis. Spinal cord injuries tend to affect more men than women, and the majority of people who sustain a spinal cord injury are between the ages of 16 and 30 because of increased likelihood of risky behaviors.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury (2016)

Spinal Cord Injury Causes

  • Vehicular / Automobile Accidents 38% 
  • Falls 30.5%
  • Violence (Primarily From Gunshot Wounds) 13.5% 
  • Sports Injury 9% 
  • Medical / Surgical Complications 5% 
  • Miscellaneous / Other Causes 4% 

Source: The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center

Non Traumatic Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

While non-traumatic spinal cord injuries are not nearly as prevalent as traumatic spinal cord injury, they still can cause damage to the spinal cord. Some causes may include:

  • Cancer Osteoporosis / Spinal Tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Blood Loss

To learn more about spinal cord injury, visit our learn about spinal cord injury page.