Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
this Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
September is not just about the beginning of Autumn and pumpkin spice lattes; it’s also Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. This is a time to shed light on the dangers, treatment options, and, most importantly, the prevention of spinal cord injuries. These life-altering injuries affect thousands of Americans every year, making it crucial for us to understand how to keep our spines safe and what to do if the unthinkable happens.
The Reality of Spinal Cord Injuries in the US
Before we delve into prevention, let’s take a moment to understand the magnitude of the issue.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, in the United States, approximately 18,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries are reported each year.
These injuries can result from various causes, but they all have one thing in common: they can be devastating and life-changing.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord, which is a crucial part of our central nervous system. This injury disrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to a range of impairments. The severity of the injury can vary, but even a minor spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on a person’s life.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Understanding the leading causes of spinal cord injuries is essential for prevention. The most common causes include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car crashes and motorcycle accidents are the leading causes of spinal cord injuries in the US.
- Falls: Falls are a major concern, especially for the elderly population, and can result in severe spinal cord injuries.
- Sports and Recreational Activities: High-impact sports and activities like diving can also lead to spinal cord injuries.
- Violence: Acts of violence, such as gunshot wounds, can cause irreparable damage to the spinal cord.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are categorized into two main types: complete and incomplete.
- Complete Spinal Cord Injury: In this type, there is a total loss of sensation and function below the level of the injury.
- Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: Incomplete injuries allow for some function or sensation below the level of the injury.
Prevention: Your Best Defense
While accidents can happen, taking precautions to prevent spinal cord injuries is your best defense. Always wear seatbelts in vehicles, use appropriate safety gear during sports and recreational activities, and take steps to make your home environment safer.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month serves as a reminder that we all play a part in preventing these life-changing injuries. By staying informed, promoting safety, and seeking immediate medical attention when needed, we can reduce the impact of spinal cord injuries on individuals and their families.
Diagnosis and the Importance of Time
Upon arrival at our ER, patients who have experienced trauma undergo an immediate assessment to determine the scope of their injuries. Our medical team’s foremost concern is to swiftly verify the patient’s ability to breathe and establish the presence of a pulse.
Following this pivotal evaluation, we proceed with an assessment of the patient’s neurological function, which includes an examination of limb strength and sensory perception.
In cases where weakness is detected or if the patient is unconscious, a rigid cervical collar is promptly applied to immobilize the neck and mitigate the risk of further injury.
Subsequently, the attending physician will proceed to order a CT scan to explore potential spinal cord fractures or any other anomalies within the spinal cord. As we have a CT scan machine on site 24/7, the patient will not have to visit another facility or experience long wait times.
At RapidCare Emergency Room, our dedicated medical professionals are trained to recognize and respond to spinal cord injuries promptly. Our 24/7 availability ensures that you receive the care you need when you need it most.
When to Visit the Emergency Room – Warning Signs
Prompt medical attention is critical when dealing with a suspected spinal cord injury. If you or someone you’re with experiences any of the following warning signs, head to your nearest RapidCare Emergency Room immediately:
- Severe neck or back pain after an accident.
- Weakness or paralysis in any part of the body.
- Loss of sensation in the limbs.
- Difficulty breathing or coughing.
- Uncontrolled bladder or bowel movements.
Come to RapidCare Emergency Room for Emergency Care with Compassion
Remember, if you ever suspect a spinal cord injury, visit your nearest RapidCare Emergency Room fast. We’re here 24/7 to provide you with the expert care you deserve, ensuring that every second counts in your journey to wellness. Together, we can raise awareness, promote prevention, and make strides towards a world with fewer spinal cord injuries.
RapidCare Emergency Room facilities are all equipped with advanced on-site technology, including CT Scan, X-ray, Ultrasound, and full-service diagnostic labs. Our ER Physicians are available 24/7, ensuring swift and effective care.