Your spinal cord consists of nerves that carry impulses between your brain and the rest of your body. Rings of bone known as vertebrae surround your spinal cord. A spinal cord injury occurs if you experience trauma directly to the nerves or the vertebrae around your spinal cord.
Spinal cord injuries can be debilitating. They can result in lost mobility, feeling and function. But how do spinal cord injuries happen? Here are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries according to Mayo Clinic.
1. Motor vehicle crashes
Car and motorcycle collisions are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries, which accounts for at least 35 percent of these injuries. Bicycle and pedestrian accidents can also cause spinal cord injuries.
2. Slip, trip and fall accidents
You do not need to be elderly to suffer a spinal cord injury from falling down. Falls due to slippery surfaces, obstructed walkways or heights can result in trauma to the spinal cord. Falling accidents result in 25 percent or more of spinal cord injuries.
3. Physical assaults
Violent encounters can result in spinal cord trauma. Knives or gunshot wounds can compress or sever the spinal cord. Acts of violence such as these cause approximately 15 percent of traumatic spinal cord injuries.
4. Recreational accidents
Various athletic activities can cause damage to the spinal cord. Diving into shallow water and getting tackled in football are some examples of sports-related causes of spinal cord injuries. Overall, sports and recreational activities result in approximately 9 percent of spinal cord damage.
5. Health complications
Diseases such as spinal bifida, polio, arthritis, cancer and osteoporosis can result in spinal cord injuries. The injury may occur gradually over time.
As you can tell, spinal cord injuries can happen for numerous reasons. You should take steps to reduce the preventable chances of getting this injury, such as by driving safely and taking precautions when participating in sports.