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What Part of the Spine Can Paralyze You: Injury Prevention

What Part of the Spine Can Paralyze You

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The question, “What part of the spine can paralyze you?” has a simple answer: any. Every part of your spine keeps you moving, so suffering a spinal injury from a car accident, fall, or another incident could result in paralysis.

Keep reading to learn about the different types of paralysis a spinal injury may cause and how to prevent such injuries before you need to find NYC’s top-rated neurologist.

Defining the Different Types of Paralysis Caused by Spinal Injuries

To properly understand the severity of spinal cord injuries, you must first know what types of paralysis a spinal injury could cause. Medical professionals categorize paralysis by the limits the injured nerves put on a patient’s functionality, including:


Monoplegia refers to the paralysis of a single limb, such as your arm or leg. While some patients can regain feeling or use through therapeutic means, others will never regain full functionality of that limb.


Hemiplegia affects one side of the body, meaning that both the arm and leg of a patient may not function. Some patients may also lose the ability to control that side of their face.


Patients with paraplegia lose function from the waist down, preventing them from walking or using the bathroom on their own. Paraplegia varies in severity, though most patients never fully recover.


Quadriplegia refers to the loss of bodily functions from the neck down, often resulting in full-body paralysis. Some patients lose their ability to eat or breathe on their own, with others experiencing difficulties speaking as well.

How Spinal Injuries Affect the Nerves

Learning what part of the spine can paralyze you requires you to understand how different spinal column injuries can result in various problems, from speech to bowel and bladder control.

High-Cervical Nerves

Injuries to this section of your spine result in the most severe physical problems up to and including quadriplegia. Experiencing this sort of spinal damage often results in needing a 24-hour caretaker since the patient can no longer take care of their basic biological needs independently. Patients with this sort of injury also tend to develop blood pressure problems.

Low-Cervical Nerves

Sustaining an injury to your low-cervical nerves can inhibit the use of your arms and hands. These injuries can sometimes cause a patient to lose the use of their legs as well, with most losing the ability to control their bowels and bladder.

Thoracic Nerves

Thoracic nerve injuries typically won’t affect arms or hands but may result in paraplegia. Those who retain some function in their legs may walk again with the use of braces.

Lumbar and Sacral Nerves

Injuries affecting the lumbar and sacral nerves often result in a loss of bladder and bowel control, with many patients losing some functionality in their legs or hips.

Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries

Unlike a broken arm or leg, injuries to the brain and spinal cord can leave you mentally and physically dependent on others for the rest of your life. In 2013, the World Health Organization estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 spinal cord injuries occur worldwide every year, with most of them being preventable.

Practice Safe Driving

According to a study in 2022, 38% of spinal cord injuries resulted from car accidents. When driving, follow the rules of the road and don’t drink and drive. These simple guidelines can save you from a life-changing car accident.

Pay Attention to Signage

Whether you’re at a swimming pool or amusement park, don’t ignore warning signs instructing you on what you should and shouldn’t do. These signs exist to help you stay safe while enjoying such activities. Diving into a pool with a no-diving sign could easily result in you hitting your head on the bottom and injuring your spine.

Avoid Slips and Falls

You can’t prevent every slip and fall, but by using basic safety practices, you can make them less likely to occur. Use handrails when going up and down steps, and move carefully if you see a wet floor. Actively working against slips and falls often keeps you from accidentally injuring your spinal cord.

Wear Safety Gear

Safety gear for work, sports, or fun activities exists to prevent serious injury should an accident occur. Helmets, safety harnesses, and similar gear keep you from falling, hitting your head, or otherwise hurting yourself. Neglecting to wear safety gear or wearing it incorrectly may not save you in the event of an accident.

Find a Neurologist to Help with Spinal Injuries Through Injured Call Today

Find a Neurologist to Help with Spinal Injuries Through Injured Call Today

Finding a neurologist after a car accident, slip-and-fall injury, or similar incident can help you find and treat spine injuries before they worsen. Injured Call Today offers a comprehensive directory of neurologists and other doctors in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Doctors in our directory accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection).

Same-day appointments may be available. Find a doctor who can answer your question, “What part of the spine can paralyze you?” and more by calling Injured Call Today at (800) 897-8440.

FAQs About Spinal Injuries Causing Paralysis

How Often Do Spinal Injuries Cause Paralysis?

Spinal injuries can be a serious and life-changing event, and in some cases, they can cause paralysis. However, it’s important to note that not all spinal injuries result in paralysis, and the frequency of paralysis resulting from spinal injuries varies depending on the severity and location of the injury.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 17,700 new cases of spinal cord injuries occur each year in the United States alone. Of those cases, around 30% result in complete or incomplete paralysis.

The likelihood of paralysis resulting from a spinal injury depends on a variety of factors, including the location and severity of the injury, the age and overall health of the individual, and the promptness and effectiveness of medical treatment.

Injuries that occur higher up on the spinal cord, such as in the neck or upper back, are more likely to result in paralysis than injuries that occur lower down. Injuries that cause complete severing of the spinal cord are also more likely to result in paralysis than injuries that cause partial damage.

What is a Major Cause of Spinal Injuries that Can Cause Paralysis? 

Spinal injuries that cause paralysis can be caused by a variety of factors, including trauma, disease, and degeneration of the spinal column. However, the most common cause of spinal injuries that result in paralysis is trauma.

Traumatic spinal injuries can occur due to car accidents, falls, sports injuries, and other types of accidents. These injuries can cause damage to the spinal cord, which can result in partial or complete paralysis.

The severity of paralysis depends on the location and extent of the spinal cord injury. Injuries that occur higher up on the spinal cord are more likely to result in more severe forms of paralysis, while injuries that occur lower down may result in partial paralysis or weakness in the limbs.

Which Part of the Spine Is Most Vulnerable to Injury?

The cervical and lumbar spine are the most vulnerable to injuries. Your cervical spine is susceptible to damage from head injuries, while the lumbar spine can sustain damage from car accidents or other traumatic incidents.

What Position Is Most Stressful on the Spine?

Sitting and leaning forward puts the most stress on your spine. While this position may seem unusual, many people use it to work on their computers or look at their cell phones. 

Which Spinal Cord Injury Is the Most Fatal?

What part of the spine can paralyze you or be fatal? Injuries to the cervical spine, or the topmost part of your spine, often result in full-body paralysis or death. Cervical spine injuries make up 50% of all traumatic spinal cord injuries, according to a 2022 study.

Find a spine specialist today in Injured Call Today’s online directory.