Smart Steps for Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
Disease and surgery aren’t the only reasons people experience back pain. Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can result in long-term discomfort, severe pain, paralysis, and even death. These injuries occur when there is a trauma to the spinal cord, resulting from sports-related injuries, car accidents, falls or violent altercations.
Spinal cord injuries are classified according to an alphabetic system as follows:
- Level A: complete SCI with no preservation of mobility or motor function.
- Level B: “incomplete” SCI with reservation of motor skills and sensory function but severely limited mobility.
- Level C: incomplete SCI with reservation of motor skills, sensory functions, more than half of the key muscles have a mass lower than 3, and active mobility.
- Level D: incomplete SCI with reservation of motor skills, sensory functions, at least half of the key muscles have a mass lower than 3, and active mobility.
- Level E: normal motor skills, sensory functions, muscle mass, and mobility.
While most spinal diseases and degenerative disorders are not preventable, you can take precautions against harmful spinal cord injuries. Here are four simple steps to help protect yourself:
1. Always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. for people under 65.
2. Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle, when participating in activities or sports such as football, or rock climbing, and when working or walking around a construction zone.
3. Never keep firearms loaded in an exposed space. Accidental gun wounds and gun violence are a major cause of SCIs. Always keep your unloaded firearm in a safe separate, secure location from your ammunition.
4. Always be sure to secure rugs and loose electrical cords, put away toys, use safety gates, and install window guards to prevent falls. Falls are the number one cause of SCIs in those 65 or older, and many children incur SCIs each year from falling down stairs or out of windows. Install grab bars and handrails if necessary.
When it comes to spinal injuries, prevention is truly the best medicine. Please contact Dr. Sharma for more information, or to schedule an appointment.