Spinal cord injuries are most commonly caused by trauma including motor vehicle accidents, falls, diving, and acts of violence. Sports-related spinal cord injuries occur more commonly in children and teenagers, while work-related injuries (especially from construction work) predominate in adults.
Spinal cord injuries may result in paralysis including quadriplegia (a loss of function below the neck) and paraplegia (a loss of function below the chest). The spinal cord does not need to be completely severed to cause off of function. Compression of the spinal cord or bruising or inflammation can also cause loss of function.
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Last reviewed: October 2016