No matter how careful you are, the world is an inherently dangerous place. From other people's actions caused you harm to gravity getting in the way, people are injured all the time because of no fault of their own. Therefore, if you've suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s important to realize that your injury is common and happens to thousands of people each year.
Even the most careful person in the world can end up with a spinal cord injury. Just like marathon runners, who despite having a healthy lifestyle will have heart disease, fate can be out of your control. And this is often what happens when you have a spinal cord injury. Whether your injury was because of a car accident, a sporting accident or an illness, a spinal cord injury is not as rare as some people may think. Read on to discover why this is the case.
Thousands of SCIs Occur Each Year
If you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why spinal cord injuries are more common than the public is aware of. According to an SCI census by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) done in 2017, there are 54 cases of people with spinal cord injury per one million people in the US.
This means around 285,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury in the country. And there are approximately 17,500 more people who are paralyzed each year. For anyone who thinks spinal cord injuries are rare, these statistics prove otherwise.
There Are Many Causes of Paralysis
The same census also looked at the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the US. Since 2010, vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of SCI, which further proves how in many cases a paralyzing injury can be out of your control, even if you're behind the wheel. Distracted drivers, unsafe roads and bad weather conditions are the cause of many car accidents that result in a paralyzing injury. In many countries, unsafe roads are a common cause of SCI.
And even though 90% of SCI cases are caused by a traumatic injury, non-traumatic spinal cord injuries appear to be on the rise. Injuries caused by medical errors are also on the rise, with 4.7% of injuries caused by a doctor/surgery. Many for example have become paralyzed as a result of spinal cord stimulators being implanted incorrectly. People over the age of 65 are also in a high-risk category for SCI because of falls, with falls the second most common cause of spinal cord injuries.
The most common causes of SCI according to NSCISC are as follows:
- 38%: Vehicle-related accidents
- 30.5%: Falls
- 13.5%: Violence
- 8.9%: Sports
- 4.7%: Medical/surgical
- 4.0%: Other
A lot can be ascertained from the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. When it comes to vehicle-related accidents, some accidents are because of the driver’s fault, however, in many cases, the driver did nothing wrong. You can be a passenger in a car who is hit by another driver. Simply getting in a car can be a risk and for many a risk that ends and paralysis. And for people over the age of 65, they're at a higher risk of falling. Many people can have a minor fall that results in spinal cord injury. From a fall in the shower to falling out of a hammock only 2 feet above the ground, spinal cord injuries can occur in many fall-related ways.
It can be frustrating living with a spinal cord injury, especially when the cause was out of your control. Just know that spinal cord injuries can happen to anyone. Although this is unfair, what you do after an injury is what you do have control of, and that is what many focuses on to heal.
Written by Spinal Cord TeamSpinalCord.com has been created as a resource for patients of spinal cord injuries and their families. Find everything you need to learn more about your injury, locate a doctor or treatment center, or discover financial relief to support you through this difficult time.
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