As we get older we develop arthritis in our neck with the ligaments, discs and joints of the neck stiffening, and osteophytes (extra bone formations) forming within the spinal canal.
This means there is less space for the spinal cord and increases the risk of significant injury to the cord following relatively 1-12 Information after a Spinal Cord Injury minor injuries. This could be as simple as falling from a standing position and hyper-extending the neck.

The spinal cord then becomes stretched over these osteophytes (extra bone formations) causing central bleeding and swelling within the cord.
Someone with central cord syndrome can usually control their legs better than their arms. These individuals sometimes recover enough to walk a little but often continue to have major problems with their arm function.