Did you know that every day in Canada, an average of two people suffer a spinal cord injury? That means more than 700 people a year live with the life-altering impacts of a spinal cord injury. If you want to reduce your risk of becoming one of them, read on. We’ll share some tips on how to stay safe and keep your spine healthy.
That’s a pretty sobering statistic. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of spinal cord injuries – read on to find out more.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord. This damage can stop or interrupt messages from the brain to the rest of the body. A spinal cord injury can be caused by a sudden, traumatic blow to the vertebrae or an injury that severs the spinal cord.
There are two types of spinal cord injuries: Complete and Incomplete. A complete injury causes total paralysis (loss of function) below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury leaves some function remaining on one or both sides of the body.
The most common symptoms of a spinal cord injury are paralysis and loss of sensation. SCI may also cause loss of function in the arms, legs, bladder, and bowel. Depending on the level and severity of the injury, SCI can also affect breathing, heart rate, and metabolism.
While there is no cure for SCI, treatments, and therapies are available to help people with SCI live as independently as possible.
Many people with a spinal cord injury can regain some function with prompt treatment. However, there is no cure for a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries require urgent medical care.
What are some causes of spinal cord injuries?
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. They account for approximately 38% of all such injuries.
Falls are the second most common cause, accounting for about 30% of cases.
Gunshot wounds are relatively rare, but they do occur and can cause severe damage to the spinal cord.
In some cases, the exact cause of the damage is unknown. Other causes of spinal cord injuries include sports injuries, electrical shocks, and surgical complications.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following symptoms, seek medical help immediately:
- Severe pain in the neck or back
- Neurological problems, including numbness, tingling, weakness, or paralysis in the arms and legs
- Loss of control over bladder or bowel function
- Inability to breathe normally or cough effectively
- Sudden and severe headache
- Rising blood pressure or rapid heart rate.
How can you reduce your risk of spinal cord injury?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from spinal cord injuries, including:
- Wearing a seat belt every time you’re in a moving vehicle.
- Ensure that your children wear a seat belt or use an age- and weight-appropriate child safety seat.
- Children under age 12 should always ride in the back seat to protect themselves from airbag injuries.
- Don’t drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Don’t ride with a driver who’s been drinking.
- Wearing a properly fitted motorcycle helmet every time you ride.
- Playing contact sports only with the proper safety gear, including helmets and padding.
- Use caution when participating in activities with a risk of falling, such as rock climbing or skiing.
- Take measures to prevent falls around the house, such as removing tripping hazards and installing handrails on stairways.
- Keeping the home well-lit to avoid falls in the dark.
- Practicing safe lifting.
- Before diving, check the depth of the water. Diving into a pool unless it is at least 12 feet (3.7 meters) deep is not a good idea.
- Don’t dive into an aboveground pool.
- Don’t dive into water if you don’t know how deep it is.
- Wear a life jacket when participating in water activities.
- Use extra caution when engaging in activities on slippery surfaces, like ice skating or tobogganing.
Harris Law are proud supporters of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO)
Harris Law is proud to support SCIO and its efforts to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injuries. We hope that our donation will help SCIO continue its valuable work in the community. We encourage our clients, friends, and family members to get involved as well. To learn more about SCIO or how you can help, please visit spinalcordinjuryontario.com.
We’re Here To Help
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury. In that case, it is important to get immediate medical attention and to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights and seek the compensation you need and deserve.
Harris Law Firm has been helping people like you for more than 25 years. We are here to support you through this difficult time and will fight tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation and/or support.