The Most Common Causes of Spine Injuries for Every Demographic

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

Spine injuries can be debilitating for victims. If you or a loved one has suffered from a spinal cord injury, you may feel alone in this difficult time. However, spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are more common than many realize.

While the causes differ, nearly 300,000 people in the US live with SCIs just like you. Understanding why people receive SCIs can help you feel less alone. Here are some vital statistics you need to know about spinal cord injuries and the most common causes of spine injuries in the US for different demographics.

Important Spine Injury Statistics

Some people are much more likely to suffer an SCI than others. According to research done by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), factors that make someone more prone to suffering an SCI include being:

  • Male: 78% of all SCI victims are male, perhaps due to a stronger tendency toward athletics and risk-taking behavior.
  • Young or Old: 23.5% of all SCIs occur between 17 and 22, and 47.6% occur in people younger than 30. Meanwhile, 11.8% of SCIs occur in people ages 60 and older.
  • Athletic: 10% of all spine injuries are caused by sports and recreation accidents.
  • Chronically ill: 4.2% of spine injuries are caused by medical conditions or surgical interventions for other health problems, such as cancer, chronic arthritis, and osteoporosis.

While these statistics are important, the most common specific causes of SCIs vary based on other demographic factors.

Overall: Car Crashes

The most significant cause of spine injuries in the US is motor vehicle accidents. Since 2015, 38.6% of all SCIs have been caused by a car, truck, pedestrian, or motorcycle crash. Between 1.5 and 2 million car crashes involve injuries in the US every year, making this one of the most likely ways an individual can suffer from an SCI.

Older Adults: Falls

After car accidents, falls are the second most common reason for SCIs overall. For adults over 65, a fall is the number one reason they may suffer a spine injury. Falls can be caused by slipping or tripping on poorly maintained floors or sidewalks, falling off work equipment, or lacking proper support in a healthcare environment.

Youths: Sports Accidents

Outside of car accidents, the most common reason children and young adults suffer from SCIs is sports. Playing full-contact sports like football or rugby, diving into shallow pools, and other high-impact sports activities can all lead to permanent SCIs in people of all ages. However, this is most common in younger people due to the greater activity levels of children and young adults.

Middle-Aged People: Medical/Surgical Accidents

People requiring medical or surgical interventions are most likely to suffer an SCI because of their treatment. These individuals are less likely to participate in athletic activities, removing that risk factor. While car crashes can still cause an SCI, undergoing a medical procedure related to the spine adds a significant new risk factor. Receiving medical treatment from the wrong professional can put you at a significantly higher risk of suffering an SCI.

Fight Back Against Those Responsible for Your SCI

Many SCIs are caused by someone else’s negligence. For instance, if someone hits you with their car or your surgeon makes a mistake during an operation, you could suffer permanent spine damage. If this has happened to you, you can fight back.

You can file a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit against the people who hurt you. If you’re interested in taking action, contact the expert spinal cord injury lawyers at AWS, LLP. Schedule your consultation today to learn more.