Injuries occur every day and unfortunately, they aren’t always easy to prevent. Constantly in motion, as we move between home, work and play, our bodies, and sometimes our spinal cords, can take an unintentional beating.
The spinal cord is the oh-so- important cluster of nerves responsible for transmitting messages from the brain to the body and because of this, we need to do all we can to protect it from possible injury.
Spinal cord injuries (SPI) happen as a result of traumatic injury and will usually manifest as a bruise (contusion) a partial tear or a complete tear (transection).
Although symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the injury and the particular segment of the cord affected, some common symptoms include:
- Spinal shock-that will result in loss of feeling and muscle movement below the injury
- Muscle spasticity
- Breathing problems
- Muscle weakness
- Digestive problems and
- Sexual dysfunction
SPI’s can be painful and potentially life threatening, so the best way to treat them, is to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Car accidents are the most common cause of SCI’s, when the spinal cord can be pulled, compressed and twisted from the high impact. While accidents can’t always be avoided, make a conscious effort to be extra careful each time you get behind the wheel. Stick to the speed limit, wear your seat belt and always practice defensive driving, for you and your spinal cords sake.
Falls, slips and trips
Many SPI’s happen from little accidents that occur on a regular basis that you wouldn’t think could do any permanent damage.
Tripping can force you to overextend your neck, causing damage to the ligaments in that specific area and slipping and landing on a hard surface may compress the bones in your lower back.
To prevent accidents like this, and protect your spinal cord, remove clutter from the stairs and walkways in your home, use non-stick mats in your shower and install handrails along all staircases.
Additionally, when moving heavy objects around your home, follow the age old rule ‘lift with your legs and not your back’, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
When participating in sports, be sure to wear the proper protective gear and remember to warm up and stretch sufficiently so that your body (and spinal cord) will be ready for vigorous activity.
But the most common sport that can result in a SPI is swimming and more specifically, diving.
After you have taken the time to learn proper diving techniques, always check the depth of the water before taking the plunge. The water level should be 9 ft. or deeper before you can dive safely and the water should be well lit so you can see what you are jumping in to. When it comes to your spinal cord, you don’t want to take unnecessary risks.
If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, facet blocks, again depending on the severity of the injury, could potentially help to relive some of the pain occurring as a result of inflamed segments of the spine.
So protect your spinal cord and take the proper steps to ensure that you don’t become one of 250,000 – 400,000 Americans suffering from a spinal cord injury. Drive safely, remove unnecessary obstacles from your home and live your life spinal cord injury free.
This is a guest post by Samantha Priest an avid blogger, freelance writer and a health expert.