More than 12,500 people in the US suffer spinal cord injuries every year. Despite this, many of us do not understand these injuries, how they happen or how to prevent them. Unfortunately, most people only seek information about spinal cord injuries and the catastrophes that led up to them only after they have occurred and their loved one has become a victim.
Spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic. They can lead to a complete change in the lifestyle of the victim as well as the family members who care for them. While some victims are able to recover from their injuries, others suffer permanent disabilities. Spinal cord injuries significantly impact victims’ loved ones as they have to cope with emotional distress, loss of income, huge medical bills as well as the special care and support their loved one now requires.
COMMON CAUSES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Spinal cord injuries are serious. However, many spinal cord injuries can and should have been prevented. Understanding the most common causes of spinal cord injuries will put you in a better position to protect yourself.
Car accidents have been shown to be the leading cause of death among people aged below 34 years. They are also the top cause of spinal cord injuries. Car accidents account for 48% of spinal cord injuries in women and 29% in men. Obviously, some accidents will happen no matter what you do, but consistently practicing defensive driving techniques will help minimize your risk.
Diving involves propelling one’s body headfirst into the water. While many have perfected the art of diving, it is still quite dangerous, especially if the water is too shallow. Inexperienced divers are likely to hit objects or people in their way. Diving accounted for 7% of recorded spinal cord injuries in 2014. The best thing you can do to minimize this risk is to teach your children how to be safe around water especially when it comes to diving. Good judgment will significantly reduce the risk of a diving-related spinal cord injury.
Slip and Fall Accidents
A misplaced step can lead to an accident that will change the rest of your life. Slip and fall accidents accounted for 22% of spinal cord injuries among men and 21% of injuries among women in 2014. The risk increases as we age. Awareness is the best way to minimize this risk. In addition, if you do fall, don’t ignore it. Always see your doctor for a physical examination afterward, even if you don’t experience symptoms right away.
Motorcyclists are exposed to motorists. Because of this, bikers are prone to more serious injuries when involved in a collision. Many motorcyclists suffer spinal cord injuries as a result of the force of the impact on their bodies upon collision. As with auto accidents, defensive driving techniques will reduce this risk somewhat.
Like motorcyclists, pedestrians have very little protection in a collision with a motor vehicle. For that reason, there is a serious danger of spinal cord injuries when a pedestrian is hit by a speeding, aggressive or distracted driver. Many suffer head and spinal cord injuries. Stay alert. Don’t text and walk if you are near traffic. Be aware of your surroundings.
Objects that are heavy or that are dropped from a great height can cause considerable damage on impact. Falling objects can cause brain and spinal injuries. Pedestrians passing construction sites, construction workers and others working in similar environments are at the greatest risk of these types of injuries. Be alert for signs of danger when you are at or near a construction site. The same thing applies when you are in a big box store. Pay attention to your surroundings.