Spinal cord injuries can be particularly catastrophic because of the significant role that the spinal cord plays in the human body. The spinal cord is a crucial part of the central nervous system, which relays messages regarding sensory information to the rest of the body. Damage to the spinal cord can seriously impair the muscles and nerve fibers that control everything from arm and leg motion to bladder control.
A spinal injury is not something that anyone hopes for, but, unfortunately, they do occur. The first step in dealing with these injuries is identifying them. In order to do that, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries and how they affect the body.
What are the most common spinal cord injuries?
- Car accidents
The single leading cause of spinal cord injuries is motor vehicle accidents. The damage from a car, truck or motorcycle crash to the spine can be absolutely catastrophic. These accidents count for over 35 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year.
Falls account for 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Though people of any age could fall and become catastrophically injured, falls tend to occur more for people over the age of 65.
About 15 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by acts of violence. These acts could include knife wounds, gunshots or blunt force trauma. Violence can have lasting, catastrophic effects on the body.
- Sports and recreation
A little-known fact about sports is that they can often damage the spinal cord. Approximately nine percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by athletic activity and other recreational activities.
Alcohol can also be an important factor in catastrophic injuries. One example is car crashes that are caused by drunk drivers and result in spinal cord injuries. In fact, alcohol use is present in about one quarter of all such injuries.
Sometimes, diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis can lead to spinal cord damage or serious spinal injuries.