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What are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries?

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are life-altering injuries that not only affect someone’s ability to move and feel, but also cost individuals thousands of dollars each year in medical expenses and other related costs. Although many people are aware of this devastating type of injury, they remain in the dark regarding the events that often cause SCIs.

Top 5 causes of SCIs

A SCI occurs when something damages the spinal cord or damages vertebrae, ligaments or disks in the spinal column. While the initial injury can cause significant damage on its own, additional damage can occur over the days or weeks that follow the initial injury. This is because bleeding, swelling and inflammation often happens around the spinal column.

Most initial injuries are caused by external trauma. The most common causes of SCIs include:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Falls
  • Violence
  • Sports
  • Medical/surgical procedures

Car and motorcycle accidents cause about 40% of SCIs each year. This accounts for more SCIs than any other event.

While slipping and falling may appear funny on TV, falls can have serious consequences in real life. Falls cause about 30% of SCIs.

Acts of violence are the third most common cause of SCIs, accounting for about 13% of these injuries. Gunshot wounds are the most common act of violence to cause such severe injuries.

How can someone minimize the risk of an SCI?

Although it may be impractical to avoid all potential causes of SCIs, it is possible to minimize your risk of injury. For starters, practice safe driving habits and be careful when walking near wet or slippery areas where you could lose your footing. Pay attention to water depth when diving, wear proper safety equipment when playing sports and ensure necessary medical procedures are performed by reputable professionals.

If you or a loved one does experience a SCI because of someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, there may be options to pursue financial compensation. While doctors may not be able to reverse damage to a spinal cord, fair compensation can help ease some of the financial burdens that an SCI may cause.

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