One of the most common causes for spinal injuries are accidents. Many people who have had experienced serious accidents often have their spines injured. Injuries to the spine can possible cause paralysis and even death if they are left untreated. In a spinal injury, there are damages to the ligaments, vertebrae as well as the disc in the spine itself. There are two types of spinal injury – traumatic and nontraumatic. Traumatic spinal injury occurs when there is a sudden large impact to the spine which will result in fracture, dislocation and even compression of the spinal cord. A nontraumatic one occurs due to medical conditions such as cancer, infection, arthritis and disc degeneration.
Common causes of spine injury
Vehicle accidents account for about 45% of spine injuries every year. Vehicle crashes at high speed can cause huge impact onto the passengers, causing damages to the tissues and cells in the spine.
Violence is the next leading cause of spine injuries. Acts of violence such as from gunshots, knife injuries or fights can cause tearing and crushing of the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis. Depending on the severity, the effect can be temporary of permanent.
Falls can cause significant injuries and can lead to spinal injuries. There are a number of factors that determines the severity of the injury such as the height of the fall, the type of surface the victim landed on, the part of the body that landed first and the orientation. The spine is the most commonly injured part of the body because of a fall.
High impact sports such as wakeboarding and skiing contributes roughly about 8% to spinal injuries yearly.
Diseases such as cancer, infection, inflammation and osteoporosis can possibly cause spinal injuries. Tumours may grow around the spine and will add pressure to the spinal cord, causing compression of the spine.
When a person grows old, the bone structure changes and that can cause narrowing of the spine or slipped discs. Narrowing of the spine will cause additional pressure on the nerves and cause pain and discomfort in patients. Slipped discs can also add pressure and press onto the nerves, causing unbearable pain.
Spine injury is a serious injury and immediate medical attention should be sought. The spine does not need to be totally broken to cause paralysis. An intact spinal cord can result in the loss of bodily function in patients.