Your spine is an indispensable part of the human body and is responsible for fulfilling several important roles in your body including controlling the coordination of movement, providing support for your head and an ability to walk upright, and protecting the central nervous system. Spinal cord injuries are in a category of the worst types of injuries that can occur to a human because of the importance of the spine to our daily well-being. This is the reason why we hold neurosurgeons like Dr. Joseph Yazdi, who operate on and repair the spine in such high regard. Their work is continuous though, because of the amount of spine injuries that occur each year.
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States are:
Types of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries: Traumatic spinal cord injuries occur from injury or damage directly to the spine from some type of physical trauma. Here are the most common types of traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Motor vehicle accidents Motorized vehicles are heavy, fast moving machines that are very dangerous to humans. They are also one of the most popular mode of travel. Because of these factors, auto and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. In fact, they account for more than 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year.
Falls: Falls are the leading cause of injury in those over age 65 and fittingly, spinal cord injuries in seniors are most often caused by falls. Overall in all ages falls account for more than 25 percent of spinal cord injuries.
Violence: In terms of the most likely preventable causes of spinal injuries, acts of violence top the list. These injuries account for about 14 percent of all spinal injuries each year and will often involve a gun, knife or other weapon.
Sports: Sports is the leading form of entertainment for most age groups and with a large percentage of participants active in sports, the number of spinal injuries remains very high. The sports with the highest injuries tend to be impact sports like football and hockey but other non-impact sports also contribute to the fact that nearly 9 percent of spinal injuries are sports related. Athletic activities, such as impact sports and diving in shallow water, cause about 9 percent of spinal cord injuries.
Types of Non-Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries – Sometimes the spinal cord can be damaged by disease, abscesses from an infection, bleeds, clots or tumors that directly affect its functioning. Here are the most common type of non-traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Diseases: Debilitating diseases including cancer, arthritis, polio, spinal bifida, osteoporosis and inflammation of the spinal cord cause more than 8 percent of spinal cord injuries.
Medical / Surgical Complications: this is an area that surprises many, but 5 percent of spinal injuries occur during an operation or as a complication from another medical condition.
Kinds of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are two types of spinal cord injury; complete and incomplete.
- In a complete injury, a person loses all ability to feel and voluntarily move below the level of the injury.
- In an incomplete injury, there is some feeling and functioning below the level of the injury.
The spine is the literal backbone of society and keeps up all upstanding citizens. Take care of yours and caution others to do the same.