What Are the Leading Causes of Paralysis?

Paralysis is a devastating and life-changing injury. It occurs when a person loses the ability to voluntarily move some or all of their body. It can have many different causes, but the leading ones are as follows.

What Are the Leading Causes of Paralysis?


The primary cause of paralysis is a stroke (33.7%). A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked. As a result, brain cells begin to die since they are not receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need. When brain cells die, there is a loss of function. As a result, individuals who suffer a stroke may no longer be able to do things that were controlled by the part of the brain where cells died. When a stroke damages the part of the brain that sends messages to trigger muscle movement, the message between the brain and muscles may not work properly, causing paralysis.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is the body’s support beam, made up of a cylindrical bundle of nerve fibers and tissue, and connects to almost every part of the body. A spinal cord injury occurs from damage done to the spinal cord itself or the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs surrounding it. When a person suffers a complete spinal cord injury, they lose all feeling and ability to control movement below the site of injury. The higher the damage on the vertebrae, the more severe the paralysis. Spinal cord injuries are the second leading cause of paralysis (27.3%).

The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: The number one cause of spinal cord injuries is accidents involving motor vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, etc. They account for nearly half of all spine injuries each year.
  • Falls: Falls account for over 15 percent of spinal injuries—for example, fall accidents at places of work, such as construction sites, slippery sidewalks, or unsafe properties, etc. After age 65, individuals are at an increased risk of a spinal cord injury from a slip and fall.
  • Violence: Gunshots, knife wounds, and other acts of violence, barehanded or with other weapons, are responsible for 12 percent of spinal injuries.
  • Sports Injuries: Impact sports cause around 10 percent of spinal cord injuries—for instance, football, hockey, MMA, and rugby increase the risk of spinal damage.
  • Alcohol and Diseases: Alcohol factors into about a quarter of all spinal injuries. Cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and spinal cord inflammation can also cause harm.

When another party is responsible for an accident that causes your paralysis, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to a Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn your legal options.

Multiple Sclerosis

Advanced multiple sclerosis (MS) is responsible for 18.6% of paralysis cases. With MS, the body’s immune system attacks myelin—a substance surrounding nerve fibers in the spinal cord. When myelin is damaged, it can result in paralysis. Whether a person with MS becomes paralyzed will depend on their condition’s severity and where the damaged areas are located on the nerve fibers.

Types of Paralysis

There are several types of paralysis:

  • Monoplegia: Paralysis affecting one limb
  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis affecting one side of the body
  • Diplegia: Paralysis affecting two limbs on the same side of the body
  • Paraplegia: Paralysis affecting both legs or the lower part of the body
  • Quadriplegia (Tetraplegia): Paralysis affecting both the arms and legs or, in some cases, the body from the neck down.

At Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers, we have extensive experience working with victims suffering from all types of paralysis. If you have suffered a paralysis injury caused by another’s negligence, we can help you hold them accountable.

We are open for business and continue to be available to existing and new clients through virtual meetings and teleconferences. We can handle all of your legal needs without you leaving your house. Please call (702) 384-1414 or click here to be connected to our attorneys