Cervical spinal cord injury due to fall while carrying heavy load on head: a problem in Bangladesh

Spinal Cord. 2012 Apr;50(4):275-7. doi: 10.1038/sc.2011.153. Epub 2011 Dec 6.


Study design: Observational study.

Setting: Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Methods: This observational study was conducted on 84 patients of Cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) due to fall while carrying heavy load on head. They were admitted at the CRP, Dhaka, Bangladesh between January 1999 and December 2001. Relevant personal information, neurological status, types of bony injuries and x-ray findings were noted down in pre-structured questionnaire. In addition, each subject was interviewed to find out the cause of accidental fall while carrying heavy load on head.

Results: Age of the studied subjects ranged between 10 to 50 years. All were male of whom 79 (94%) subjects were farmers and/or low cost daily laborers. In all, 72% percent of the subjects were carrying 60-80 kg weight on their head when fall occurred. A total of 48 (57%) subjects had complete neurological lesion. The most common vertebral levels were C5 and C6. So far the mechanism of injury is concerned hyper flexion of the cervical spine predominated (61%) over hyperextension (36%).

Conclusion: Fall while carrying heavy load on head is a common cause of CSCI in Bangladesh. The victims are mostly young farmers or unskilled day laborers who were not habituated to carry heavy load on head.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality*
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology
  • Spinal Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Young Adult