Common Causes of Sacral Spinal Cord Injuries

Among all the spinal cord injuries that are possible, sacral spinal cord injuries are the rarest. Located below the lumbar section and above the tailbone, the sacral section of the spinal column affects the hips, groin, buttocks, and legs, as well as the bladder, bowel, and sexual function in men. Also, an interesting fact about the sacral area - the spinal cord does not extend here.

The actual spinal cord ends at the lumbar section of the spinal column. In the sacral area, you'll find a bundle of nerves that control much of the lower body. Injuries here usually leave the individual with the ability to walk, but they will still have paralysis of the bladder and bowels.

Injuries to the sacral area are rare because of the density of the bone that is here. Most injuries to the sacral spinal column occur above this area. There are however many instances when injuries and spinal contusions to the sacral spinal column do occur. Read on to discover the most common causes of sacral spinal cord injuries.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Paramedic placing a cervical collar to an injured woman from car accident

It should come as no surprise that motor vehicle accidents are one of the number one causes of sacral spinal cord injuries, as they are the most common cause of all spinal cord injuries. Although this area of the spinal column is dense and well protected, it can be injured in high impact car accidents, such as rollovers. 

Falls

Senior-slipping-and-falling

Due to the location of the sacral spinal column, a fall can injure this area easily if a person falls backward, such as slipping on ice, falling off a bike or skateboard, or losing their footing. Many people will try to fall on their backside as a preventative measure, however, this can cause injuries to the sacral area. High-impact falls can also cause sacral spinal cord injuries, such as a fall from a building or another high place.

Birth defects

Birth Defect - Sacral Spina Cord Injury

Certain birth defects are known to cause sacral spinal cord injuries. Caudal regression syndrome is a birth defect that frequently causes sacral spinal cord injuries. There are other birth defects, or conditions rather can also cause sacral spinal cord injuries, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and congenital spine abnormalities.

Degenerative Conditions

Degenerative Disc Condition - Sacral Spinal Cord Injury

Deterioration of the discs is another common cause of a sacral spinal cord injury. Degenerative disc disease in the intervertebral discs can slowly deteriorate over time and cause an injury to the spinal cord. Aging and Osteoporosis can also cause deterioration of the discs in the sacral area, which could cause a spinal cord injury. A mild fall with degenerative discs could cause paralysis.

People who sustain sacral spinal cord injuries may be in the minority, but their injuries are just as life-changing. Any permanent damage to the spinal cord, even if a person is still able to walk, can be difficult both physically and emotionally. Always make sure to protect this area if your spinal cord if at all possible in a traumatic incident.

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Spinal Cord, spinal contusions, sacral spinal cord injury, sacral spine

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