Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

17 May 2021

There are many different causes of spinal injury and the purpose of this blog, is to focus on the biggest cause of spinal injuries. Hard as it is to believe, it is actually individuals falling that makes up the most common cause of spinal cord injury.

Spinal Injury charities, Spinal Injuries Association”, “Back-Up”  and “Aspire” have conducted research using the NHS’ own data, which has revealed that not only are there many more people paralysed by spinal cord injury than previously thought but it is through falls that this is most commonly seen. The research also revealed that more women are becoming injured and more people are being diagnosed with conditions that lead to paralysis, such as cauda equina. Although the charities conclude that the increase in the numbers seen may be because of better reporting and record keeping, it certainly makes for stark reading that they estimate spinal cord injury paralyses someone every four hours .

With improvements in modern medicine and the availability of multiple treatment options, we are now a population that is living longer and well into our 70s and 80s. Although advances in medicine have led to an increase in our longevity, elderly people are still plagued by illnesses such as Dementia, Alzheimers, Osteoporosis and Arthritis. These conditions often leave individuals vulnerable to falls causing spinal cord injuries, where their balance can be affected or where there is deterioration in the skeletal structure. Deterioration in eyesight, hearing and muscle weakness can also contribute to the number of falls seen within the elderly community and as with the illnesses outlined above, unfortunately, the risk of sustaining spinal cord injury also increases, as a result.

Illnesses such as Dementia and Alzheimers will also often lead to impaired cognitive function and as medical negligence and personal injury lawyers, we do see delays in diagnosis of spinal cord injuries and orthopaedic injuries, because patients will sometimes be confused about what has happened and they are unable to express when/where they are in pain.

As the population continues to age, greater focus must be placed on keeping the elderly community as safe as possible in their homes and this will inevitably lead to greater pressure on an already burdened NHS.

If you, or a member of your family, are affected by any of the issues covered in our blogs please contact one of our specialist spinal and back injury lawyers on or call us on 0207 814 1200.


If you would like any further information or advice about the topic discussed in this blog, please contact Laura Sylvester or our Medical Negligence and Personal Injury team.



Laura Sylvester is a Senior Associate in the Clinical Negligence Department. She has a broad range of expertise, with particular focus on brain injury claims relating to children with cerebral palsy.

Laura also has a special interest in colorectal/abdominal and gynaecology claims. She has also developed a specialism in late diagnosis of infection cases and fatal claims and has an active caseload including cases of this nature. 


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