Causes of Spinal Injuries

There are about 200,000 people in the Unites States currently living with spinal cord injuries. This number is expected to increase by 12,000-20,000 each year. Some of these cases are due to disease, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, but an overwhelming number are due to traumatic injuries. Since the long-term complications of spinal cord injuries can be life-altering, it’s important to learn how you can reduce your risk of traumatic injury.

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can be extremely expensive, averaging an annual medical cost of at least $15,000. The effects of SCI vary in severity and permanence. Depending on where the injury occurred, it can result in the loss of movement, loss of respiratory, urinary, or musculoskeletal control, or loss of sensation. Common causes of traumatic spinal cord injury include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (46%)
  • Falls (22%)
  • Sports injury
  • Violence (such as bullet or stab wound)

The most common spinal injury in a motor vehicle accident is “whiplash,” which involves forced extension and flexion of the neck. According to the website of the Ausband & Dumont, if you believe that someone has suffered a spinal injury, it is important that you do not move them unless it is absolutely necessary. Keep the injured personal still and call for emergency medical help. The emergency responders will be trained in the safest way to move a person with a spinal cord injury without making the situation worse. This is important because any mistakes can exacerbate the effects of the injury.

There are ways that you can lower your risk of spinal cord injury, such as:

  • Wearing a seat belt (can reduce your chances by 60%)
  • Do not dive into bodies of water if you cannot determine its depth
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Taking precautions during sports (wearing a helmet, don’t tackle using your head)

Alcohol has been found to play a factor in about 25% of spine injuries, so you can greatly reduce your chances of injury simply by choosing an alternate way to get where you need to be rather than drinking and driving. Since spinal cord injuries can be both life-changing and costly, no one should ever have to suffer due to the fault of another person. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, there is legal action you can take in order to receive compensation for your medical bills, pain, lost wages, and other expenses.

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