Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is caused by injury to or compression of the spinal cord and / or arteries that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the spinal cord. The causes can be categorized as either traumatic or non-traumatic.
motorcycle lies on the road near a carMost common traumatic SCI causes include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (car, motorcycle)
  • Gunshot
  • Stabbing (knife wounds)
  • Falling
  • Diving into a shallow pool
  • Gymnastics injuries
  • Being thrown off while horseback riding
  • Football injuries
  • Hockey injuries
  • Bicycle accidents

Non-traumatic SCI causes include:

  • Arachnoiditis
  • Ischemia (restricted blood flow)
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal ataxia (hereditary disease affecting the neuromuscular system)
  • Spinal cysts, tumors
  • Spinal fracture caused by osteoporosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylosis
  • Transverse myelitis (rare) (inflammation of the spinal cord)
  • Vascular malformations (malformations in the blood supply system), such as arteriovenous malformations or spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas
Updated on: 05/02/17
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Exams and Tests for Spinal Cord Injury
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Exams and Tests for Spinal Cord Injury

Sometimes the extent of a spinal cord injury is not obvious. That is why it is important to dial 911 first and keep the patient still to avoid further spine or spinal cord damage.
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