Spinal cord injuries are equal opportunity offenders. A simple accident can turn into a huge problem with your back, regardless of your health and physical condition. Spinal cord injuries can happen under large variety of circumstances that almost everyone will experience at some point in their lives. For seniors, experiencing a spinal injury can be life-changing and incredibly dangerous. Listed below is a list of the most common, everyday causes of spinal cord injury and some steps you can take to prevent them.
Whether it is a slip on the stairs, a missed step off a curb, or a fall on the ice, falls are one of the most common sources of spinal cord injury. According to the National Institute of Health, falls are the cause of 25% of all new spinal cord injuries. For seniors, these falls can incredibly dangerous. To avoid this, make sure that there are strong banisters installed by all steps that they could be using in their homes. When there is bad weather, it may be better for seniors to stay home. If they do need to go somewhere, they should make sure they take extra precautions.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle accidents account for over 35 percent of all spinal cord injuries annually. Even a minor automobile or motorcycle accident can cause sufficient damage to the spinal cord and surrounding muscles. The use of proper safety equipment such as seatbelts greatly reduces the risk of severe damage secondary to motor vehicle accident.
Some seniors are working past the age of retirement because of financial reasons, or because they love their job. Accidents that happen at work are a frequent source of spinal cord injuries. There are also times when the nature of the work, itself, leads to an injury. Those who engage in work that requires frequent heavy lifting, bending, stooping, twisting are susceptible to spinal cord injuries. When the injury is the result of faulty equipment or negligence, it is possible to recoup lost wages or costs for medical treatments. When you want to prove a spinal injury case, make sure you have a qualified lawyer to help you.
There are some spinal injuries that can occur without any type of traumatic injury. Aging and genetics play a large role in the development of osteoporosis and Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) which causes the bones along the spine to weaken, allowing the nerves along the spinal cord to become exposed. Women over 50 and obese adults are also at risk for developing spinal arthritis and DJD. Seniors should make sure they see a doctor regularly to treat any of these conditions and to prevent them from causing serious injuries.
Although you can’t always control the circumstances that cause an injury, you can take some precautions to take care of those that you love. Understanding what causes different injuries and taking steps to prevent these circumstances are the first steps to helping seniors stay in good condition.