Gunshot wounds. A bullet does massive amounts of damage as it travels through the body. Gunshot wounds can cause several types of spinal cord injuries. A direct hit on the spinal cord will cause permanent damage with paralysis. Swelling caused by a wound close to the spine can put pressure on the spinal cord that will temporarily limit its function. A gunshot wound to the upper body may lead to general paralysis from the neck down. A wound in the lower back can cause paralysis from the waist down impacting the legs and excretory system.