Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

By  //  July 17, 2021

Spinal Cord Injuries by The Numbers  

According to a National Institutes of Health six-year study, the two leading causes of spinal cord injuries are automobile crashes with 31.5% of all incidents and falls with 25.3%.

Motorcycle accidents contributed 6.8% and diving incidents 4.7%. And believe it or not, surgeries or other medical procedures that are intended to improve health had complications that accounted for a whopping 4.3%, putting them only slightly behind diving accidents.

The study went further than merely supplying numbers, breaking the results down into age and gender.  If you’re under the age of 45 you’re more likely to suffer a SCI in an automobile crash. But if you’re over 45 a fall poses a greater chance.

Furthermore, just by virtue of being born male, men stand a greater chance of a gunshot wound, motorcycle crash, or a diving incident change your life forever.

Now, when you look at the big picture, spinal cord injuries pale in comparison to say, broken bones or torn ligaments. The big difference is that while these may incapacitate you for a period of time, Spinal cord injuries can change your life forever. 

Life After a Spinal Cord Injury

How your life will change depends on what part of your spinal cord was injured, and how severe that injury was.  For many people, the spine reacts by going into shock, causing a decrease in sensation, reflexes, and muscle movement. But this is only temporary, the lasting effects don’t reveal themselves until the swelling goes down.

If you’re among the fortunate few, you may be able to return to a life close to what it was before your injury, however, it will require months spent in the hospital and/or a rehabilitation facility and hours and hours of painful physical therapy. And while you may be able to return to your job, you will never be able to recoup your lost earnings.

If you add this loss to your medical bills the sad truth is a SCI ruins your life financially and impacts your family as well. And while it may be hard to believe, you are one of the fortunate ones because your injury most likely occurred in the lowest portions of the spine.

But had it occurred higher up, your symptoms would have been more severe, the higher along the spinal column, the worse, and the more lasting the effects,

Location Matters in a Spinal Cord Injury

If the damage is confined to the middle of the back, the legs are usually affected, However, if the neck is injured, the muscles you use to breathe will be affected and breathing problems will result as well as your capacity to move your arms and legs. In order to understand this, it is necessary to understand the importance of the spinal column and the cord running through it.

Vertebrae, Nerves, and Muscles

The spine is made up of chunky bones called vertebrae stacked up block-like from the base of the skull down through the hips. They provide protection to the sensitive spinal cord running from the brain down to the other end of your coccyx or tail bone.

The brain is the mission control here and the spinal cord is the instrument that carries out its orders. Composed of bundles of nerves called axons, the spinal cord carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body, controlling movement, sensation, breathing digestion, and other functions that keep us alive. It also serves as the pathway back, letting the brain know what it is going on in the body.

The Expenses of Life Post SCI

The financial aftermath of a spinal cord injury affects more than just the individual who suffered the trauma. The cost of spinal cord injuries are immense when you add up medical bills and lost wages. And although the victim may not be there, household costs go on, rent or mortgage must be paid, and children fed as well as all the little things that must be bought for school and other activities. 

If you were injured at work, you may be entitled to Worker’s Compensation or Disability, but these will go but so far in light of your mounting bills.

If an automobile accident or motorcycle accident involved another vehicle, the other driver may very well be liable, so his insurance may come into play and in case the case of a surgery gone wrong, malpractice insurance may come to your rescue as may the liability insurance of the property owner whose premises you fell on — if you can prove negligence.  

May is the operative word in all these cases because while liability may be undeniable as is your entitlement to insurance, insurance companies are businesses, and as such they want to limit the amount of money they spend. This includes the amounts they payout.

To this end, they have high-powered attorneys on their payroll whose main role is to pay you as little as possible. In such a David and Goliath scenario, you are the David. You need another Goliath.

if you’re the injured party your suffering is likely so great that as much as you care about the welfare of your family, you’re hardly in shape to find a match for Goliath.

If you’re a family member or close friend, you may feel helpless in not being able to relieve the pain and suffering your loved one is going through, but there is something you can do.

If you live in Indiana, you can contact a law firm that has an experienced team of spinal cord injury attorneys in Indianapolis, a law firm with repeated success in confronting Goliaths and getting victims their just due.