Spinal injuries are often a common occurrence for those involved in car accidents and falls, but incidents of this type of trauma can increase depending on certain risk factors. The Mayo Clinic notes that a spinal cord injury may affect both sensory ability and motor function, depending on its severity; however, the resulting partial or complete paralysis may also depend on whether an affected individual belongs to any risk factor group.
Understanding spinal cord risk factors may help those in each category remain more aware of this type of injury and why they may stand a greater chance of spinal trauma when accidents occur.
Spinal cord injury statistics note that men are more likely to suffer this type of injury than women. While the exact reasons are not completely clear, they may include:
- Labor-intensive jobs, such as construction
- A greater risk of sports-related injuries
- Longer hours driving/commercial driving
Overall, men are more likely to engage in risky behavior and labor than women, which may explain the correlation between males and spinal injuries.
Older individuals are usually at greater risk for spinal injuries, especially when they suffer a fall. Those with osteoporosis or arthritis and who have a higher chance of bone fractures during a slip-and-fall accident or other types of sudden trauma are typically more likely to suffer broken vertebrae. Seniors are generally more at risk, although the chances of this type of injury do increase after age 40.
Spinal cord injuries can cause long-term physical effects and those afflicted may require significant medical care after an accident. The degree of care required could depend on the amount of damage to nerve fibers or the spinal cord itself.