Damage to the spinal cord can be one of the most serious injuries a person can suffer and, depending on the severity of the injury, can result in paralysis or even loss of life. Statistics show that Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs) are most common in the 18-35 age group (typically through traffic accidents) and the elderly (most commonly through taking a fall).
In most cases, damage caused to the spinal cord is completely accidental – simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – but there are still steps we can all implement that will help mitigate the risk. You should note, there is currently no way to repair spinal cord damage – although there are pioneering stem cell treatments that can help alleviate pain and reduce further degradation like those provided by bioxcellerator.com.
General Tips to Reduce the Chances of Suffering an SCI
While there’s no 100% certain way of eliminating the dangers of spinal cord injury (and some activities have higher risks than others) below are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe and decrease the chances of sustaining a spinal cord injury.
Always Wear a Seatbelt in Vehicles
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of SCIs so you and your family must always wear a seatbelt whether as the driver or as a passenger (this is even more important for younger children). You should also ensure you have properly fitted child safety seats in your car.
Never Drive Under the Influence
This really ought to be a no-brainer but you should never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Recent evidence shows that, in the US alone, drink driving incidents cause around 10,000 deaths per year, which corresponds to the loss of one human life every 50 minutes – and, of course, those statistics don’t take account of the countless thousands of others that survive an accident with life-changing injuries. Bottom line, never drink and drive – or travel with anyone that has.
Never Use Your Phone While Driving and Try to Avoid Distractions
As mentioned above, motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of SCIs so you should ensure you have as few distractions as possible while you’re behind the wheel – including your phone. It’s estimated around 23% of car accidents are caused by drivers being distracted by cellphones resulting in 1.6 million crashes per annum and almost 390,000 injuries. Other distractions should also be avoided so you can give your full attention to driving.
Keep Your Home Clean and Tidy
Trips and falls are another extremely common cause of SCIs so you should reduce the risk by keeping your home clean and tidy and removing clutter. This is particularly important for the elderly with failing eyesight and worsening balance. You should also install handrails on staircases to increase safety in the home.
Seek Professional Help If You Suspect a Spinal Injury
Call the emergency services if you suspect someone has sustained a spinal injury and, crucially, never attempt to move them yourself. Moving the victim of a spinal injury can cause further damage to the spinal cord, so leave the treatment or movement of the injured person to the professionals.