Los Angeles Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

An Overview of Spinal Injury, Types of Spinal Injuries, How They Occur &Statistics

Spinal Cord Injury Overview
A spinal cord injury, also known as an SCI, is a trauma, whether sudden or cumulative to the spinal cord, which results in varying degrees of paralysis, loss of feeling and loss of function. Spinal cord injuries most often occur from a traumatic event such as a car accident or slip and fall injury.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
10spinalinjuryThe spinal cord is divided into five distinct categories: cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae, lumbar vertebrae, sacral vertebrae and coccygeal vertebrae. Spinal damage differs depending upon which area is damaged and whether the cord is bruised, fractured, partially severed or completely severed.


Cervical Vertebrae: The cervical vertebrae support the neck. Injuries to the cervical vertebrae affect the nerves that control the back of the head, the shoulders, the arms, the hands and the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is an important muscle used when breathing; therefore cervical injuries can be severely life-threatening when they limit the ability to breathe.

Thoracic Vertebrae: The thoracic vertebrae support the upper and middle back. The thoracic nerves control the chest muscles, some of the upper back muscles and parts of the abdomen. Injuries to this area can not only restrict one’s ability to move independently and to breathe but can limit the function of the digestive system, and necessitate permanent medical assistance.

Lumbar Vertebrae: The lumbar vertebrae support the lower back. The nerves of the lumbar spine control the lower abdomen, the lower back, the buttocks muscles and parts of the legs and genitals. Injuries to this area can lead to paraplegia, loss of bladder and bowel control and sexual dysfunction.

Sacral Vertebrae: The sacral vertebrae are the five fused vertebrae that form the sacrum at the base of the spine. Injury to this area of the spine can reduce or eliminate the ability to control the thighs, lower legs, feet and external genitals.


Coccygeal Vertebrae: The Coccygeal vertebrae or tailbone is the area that controls the sensation of the skin on the lower back. Injuries here can be very painful but are infrequently serious.

How Spinal Cord Injuries Occur
Motor vehicle accidents are the primary cause of spinal injuries, followed by deliberate acts of violence, such as shootings and stabbings. Falls are the leading cause of spinal injury and paralysis for people over 65.

Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

  • 52% of spinal cord injuries resulted in paraplegia and 40% of spinal cord injury result in quadriplegia.
  • Approximately 11,000 of new spinal cord injuries occur annually in the United States
  • Males suffer 82% of all spinal injuries.
  • 56% of spinal injury victims are between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • 37% of spinal cord injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents.
  • 31 is the average age of all spinal injury victims.
  • 28% of spinal cord injuries are the result of violence such as gunshots or assault.
  • 21% of spinal cord injuries are caused by falls.
  • 6% of spinal cord injuries are the result of sports activities.
  • Only 52% of those with spinal injuries are insured at the time of their injury.
  • 82% of people living with spinal injuries are male; 18% are female.


Spinal Cord Injury & Accident Articles