Skip to content

Spinal cord injury – symptoms and causes

    Your spine is actually one of the most important parts of your body. After all, without a spine, you’d find it impossible to stand up and perform any of your normal activities. Of course, the spine also protects the nerves, ensuring signals are transmitted accurately and efficiently throughout the body.

    That’s why it’s so important to look after your spine and seek professional help when you have an issue. It’s a good idea to be aware of the symptoms and causes of spinal cord injuries, this will help you to be better prepared when you make an appointment with your spine surgeon.

    The Symptoms

    Although it is always good to know the symptoms of spinal cord injuries this is not a definitive guide, if you think you have spinal issues it’s a good idea to get yourself check out by a professional. The most common symptoms are:


    • Pain or burning sensation in your back 
    • Numbness in legs or part of the back
    • Loss of feeling, particularly the sensation of hot and cold
    • Muscle spasms
    • Difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels
    • Breathing issues


    If you’re experiencing some or all of these symptoms you need to seek professional help quickly. It’s worth noting that spinal cord damage only happens in 3 sections of your spine. The cervical area is the top part and considered the most dangerous as it can affect your ability to do any task, you may not even be able to move your arms properly.

    The lumbar is the lower part of your spine and you’ll feel the issue in your legs, usually causing numbness and bladder issues. But, the sensations shouldn’t come any higher than your waist.

    In the middle you’ll find the Thoracic, damage to this area of your spinal cord also affects your legs but it can also raise your blood pressure, leading to other complications.

    Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

    The most common cause is an impact, this can be the result of a fall or a car accident.  Anything that causes a direct blow to your spine has the potential to damage your spinal cord and give you issues for life.

    However, in a small number of cases, spinal cord injuries can be caused by medical issues or surgical complications. Approximately 5% of all spinal cord injuries are a result of medical or surgical issues.

    The most common medical causes are cancer, osteoporosis, and spinal tumors. You can also experience issues if you have inflammation in the spinal cord, which could be the result of an infection. Multiple sclerosis is also known to cause spinal cord damage, as is arthritis and spinal stenosis.

    Perhaps even rarer is spinal cord injuries caused by the loss of blood or spinal fluid. 

    One thing is certain if you think you have an issue with your spinal cord you need to seek professional help as quickly as possible.  This will help the issue to be identified and the right help to be given. Sadly, spinal cord injuries will not always heal, but the pain and inconvenience can be minimized and managed.