Sustaining a spinal cord injury can have without doubt be an traumatic experience and one which leaves the individual with life-long damage to their body. Much will depend on the severity and location of the injury in terms of the prognosis for the individual following their injury.
In most cases, spinal cord injuries occur as a result of some kind of accident, which therefore means they are typically considered as preventable. However, damage to the spine may also occur as a result of non-preventable reasons such as disease.
Below is a list of the 10 most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the USA, which demonstrates how the majority of spinal cord injuries are caused by some form of preventable trauma.
10 – Person to person contact
When physical contact is made with another person, there can be a risk of injury to the spine as well as other areas of the body. A specific example of person-to-person contact which can result in a spinal cord injury is by playing contact sports, such as football.
9 – Bicycle accidents
There is a sense of freedom that comes with cycling, which is why many people love it. However, it does come with risks. A cyclist is incredibly a bike, even if they insist only on using designated cycle paths.
8 – Pedestrian injuries
Pedestrians can be at risk from sustaining serious injuries to their body when walking near to a road. Distracted and dangerous drivers have the potential to cause serious harm if they veer of the road and make contact with a passer-by, although these types of injuries are not always the fault of the driver. Pedestrians who are distracted and not concentrating properly whilst walking may accidently walk into the path of a vehicle on the road.
7 – Complications from medical procedures
Medical procedures are undertaken to improve the health status of an individual, but sometimes, complications can arise which may have a detrimental affect on the individual in question.
Medical complications are more common than many people may think and spinal cord injuries as a result of some form of medical error are the seventh leading cause of this type of injury in the USA.
6 – Falling objects
Being hit by a falling object can cause death or life-long injuries. This type of incident is much more likely to occur in places such as construction sites, which is why it is essential to wear appropriate protective clothing at all times in places the pose this particular risk.
5 – Motorcycle accidents
In the USA there are nowhere near the number of motorbikes on the road compared to cars, unlike developing countries such as Vietnam. However, due to the nature of riding a motorbike, there are significant risks from this particular activity. High speeds and comparatively little protection from the outside elements make the likelihood of a serious injury occurring quite significant, if a motorcyclist is involved in a collision.
4 – Diving Injuries
The injuries caused by diving into water can be immediate and very serious. Damage to the cervical area of the spine is likely to occur from this type of injury and the prognosis for cervical spinal cord injuries is typically very poor, as these are considered the most severe type of SCI.
3 – Gunshot Woods
In the USA gunshot wounds are one of the leading causes of injuries to the spinal cord. All it takes is for a bullet to graze the spinal area for the spinal cord to be compressed or even completely severed.
2 – Falls
It is often thought that those who are at most risk of a fall (as well as developing an injury from a fall) are those that are elderly and infirm. But the risk of falling is real for everyone.
Even misplaced step or tripping over something, depending on the circumstances, can cause significant damage to the body including a spinal cord injury.
1 – Vehicle Accidents
The most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the USA is vehicle accidents and this is also one of the leading causes of death in the country.
During 2014, 29.3% of male spinal cord injuries were caused as a result of a vehicle accident on the road. During the same period of time, 48.3% of women who sustained a spinal cord injury did so as a result of a vehicle accident.