In the USA there are as many as 17,500 new reports of people sustaining spinal cord injuries each year. This type of injury can be either ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’, with incomplete spinal cord injuries being the most common.
Available treatment options are improving, but a severe injury to the spine has the potential to seriously change the course of one’s life.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham compiles annual statistics on spinal cord injuries, which includes data related to what incidents most commonly cause this type of injury in the USA.
Below is a list of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the USA:
10. Person-to-person contact
Violent altercations between individuals can sometimes have devastating results. Assault can lead to anything from bruises and broken bones, to spinal cord injuries that can completely change the course of an individual’s life forever. From a single punch that results in a difficult fall, to being pushed against a heavy object, person to person contact can sometimes result in severe spinal cord injuries.
9. Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists are vulnerable on the roads and unfortunately, are often involved in collisions with vehicles or large, stationary objects. Wearing a helmet saves lives, and as public perception has changed to accept helmets as vital safety wear and not a fashion accessory, the number of fatal bicycle accidents has started to decline. That said, bicycling-related spinal cord injuries are still fairly common.
8. Pedestrian Injuries
Simply walking along the street can sometimes be dangerous too. Aggressive or erratic driving can lead to accidents that cause the vehicle to mount the pavement, resulting in substantial damage to pedestrians and property. In some instances, simply not looking where you are walking can also present huge risks, as research suggests that distracted pedestrians can easily become victims of collisions or accidents that can result in spinal cord injuries.
7. Medical and Surgical Complications
While medical professionals work hard to save lives and treat injuries. But, also here are times when things go wrong during medical procedures. Medical errors can be fatal and it’s estimated that as many as 440,000 people each year in the USA die because of them. Even when such errors are not fatal, they can cause lasting damage such as injury to the spine. Post surgical infections can also be life threatening and result in compression of the spinal cord.
6. Falling Objects
Accidents happen, and a collision with a falling object can change the course of your life forever. Construction sites, nature sites and even large icicles or hail can damage the spine, particularly if they approach you at high speed. Certain types of industry are more prone to this kind of accident than others, which is why hard hats and safety gear is imperative if you work in the construction industry or similar.
5. Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are still commonplace in the USA. Despite there being a very small amount of riders on the roads compared to car drivers. Efficient external protection is essential for anyone riding a motorcycle on the road. As without it, even a low speed collision can be deadly.
4. Diving Injuries
Diving from great heights into large bodies of water can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the neck and the spine. Experienced divers know how to spot potential hazards. But inexperienced divers can suffer from fatal or catastrophic injuries if the water below is too shallow or there are objects in the way of their landing.
3. Gunshot Wounds
Gun violence remains a huge social problem across the USA and other parts of the world. Even just being grazed by a bullet can sever or compress the spinal cord, causing life-changing injuries in a heartbeat. See also; 10 Outrageous Weapons That are Legal in the U.S..
It is not just the elderly or the infirm that are susceptible to falls. Tripping over an unseen hazard, misplacing a step on the stairs or simply not looking where you are going can lead to a dangerous fall and severe injury. Being the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries demonstrates that a simple fall can be far more dangerous than you may first consider.
1. Vehicle Accidents
As the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, vehicle accidents are an ever present risk for road users everywhere. In the USA alone, car accidents claim more than 32,000 lives annually. With individuals under the age of 34 being more likely to be killed or severely injured in a traffic accident than any other demographic. With nearly 30% of males and 48% of females suffering from spinal cord injuries caused by a traffic accident. It shows just how dangerous driving on the roads can be. See also; Top 10 Strangest Accidents Ever.