Protect Yourself from Prevent Spinal Cord Injuries

Bike helmetSpinal cord injuries occur when there is a trauma to the spinal cord that is not caused by disease or surgery. This trauma can be caused by sports related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, falls, or violent altercations. SCIs have different types of effect on the patient’s mobility, depending on where the nerve roots and cord are injured. Results of a spinal cord injury can be mild to severe pain, paralysis, and in some cases death.


There are different levels of SCI and they are classified through an alphabetic system:


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.


Unlike most spinal diseases and degenerative disorders, spinal cord injuries can be prevented by using simple safety precautions.


• 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.
• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


Prevention is the best treatment for any injury, and your spinal cord is the most critical component to your mobility and motor function. Follow safety guidelines and precautions in order to protect your neck, spine, and spinal cord. These articles are meant for general education and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat a specific disease. Please see Dr. Sharma for questions regarding the specific treatment of your symptoms.