The Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis

Spinal cord injuries are serious and require immediate medical attention.  Even delaying treatment by a few minutes can have serious impacts on your future quality of life.  As a paralysis accident attorney in Arkansas, I’ve seen the fallout of people simply waiting too long to see a doctor because they didn’t think anything was seriously wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, victims may not immediately know if they have a spinal cord injury. However, delaying treatment can greatly increase the risk of permanent damage leading to partial or complete paralysis. That’s why, if you or a loved one has been involved in any type of accident, you must closely monitor your symptoms and immediately contact a medical professional if you even suspect spinal cord injury.

Common symptoms of spinal cord injury in Arkansas include:

  • Numbness (generalized or specific)
  • Paralysis (including “weakness” in a limb or part of the face)
  • Pain and pressure anywhere in the back or neck
  • Difficulty breathing

As you can see, some of these symptoms mimic those of lesser injuries, like muscle strain or soft tissue injury.  If you suspect you could have anything more than a muscle strain or soft tissue injury, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get checked out.   Treatment could make the difference between complete recovery and a lifelong struggle with paralysis.


When to Seek Emergency Medical Intervention

Spinal cord injuries are often treatable thanks to new innovations in therapeutic treatment and surgical intervention. Some patients who have suffered life-altering paralysis can now walk, thanks to these innovations.  However, the success rates of many of these treatments hinge on an immediate response

Indeed, the time between injury and treatment is a critical determining factor for long-term prognosis in spinal cord injury cases.


If you have any of the symptoms below, seek immediate emergency medical intervention. Call 911. Get ambulance transportation to the nearest Emergency Room. Don’t delay.


  • Severe back pain
  • Severe pressure in the neck and/or head
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty coordinating movement
  • Numbness (sometimes experienced as tingling) or loss of sensation (usually in the extremities–hands, fingers, feet)
  • Inability to balance while standing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Noticeably altered position of the neck or back (bending or twisting)

Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

But just how likely are you to suffer spinal cord injury? There are a number of risk factors that come into play, but unfortunately no one is exempt from the dangers of an accident causing paralysis. Indeed, by examining the most common causes of spinal cord injury in the United States, we can extrapolate the risk for individuals in Arkansas. Some of the risk factors are commonsensical, others not so.


The most common causes of spinal cord injury in Arkansas include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents—car accidents in Arkansas remain the most common cause of spinal cord injury and paralysis in the state. And with roughly 62,000 car accidents in Arkansas every year, the risk of being injured in one is higher than we’d like it to be.
  • Falls—Elderly individuals (65 years old or older) are more likely than any other age group to suffer spinal cord injury during a fall. While the vast majority of falls happen at home, as a slip and fall accident attorney in Arkansas, I’ve seen high numbers of victims injured in falls at stores while shopping or entering the buildings.
  • Sports-related—Professional and amateur recreational activities pose a considerable risk as well, accounting for roughly 10% of all spinal cord injuries in America.

What to Do If You’ve Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury

If you’ve suffered spinal cord damage resulting from a car accident in Arkansas or a fall at a workplace or publically accessible location (such as a grocery store), you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party. Having an experienced spinal cord injury attorney in Arkansas fighting for your financial recovery can not only increase the likelihood that your case will be successful, but it also increases the average amount of any award you might receive.


While getting medical treatment should be your top priority after a personal injury accident, consulting with a paralysis injury attorney in Arkansas soon thereafter to discuss your legal and financial options should be high on your to-do list.  Holding negligent parties liable for injuries their actions have caused is what we do.  Speak with the legal experts at the Pfeifer Law Firm today. Contact us online or call 501-374-4440

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