Did you know 50% of spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents and another 24% are a result of falls? Many of us tend to underestimate the consequences of a spinal cord injury and overlook the simple precautions we could take to avoid it. In reality though, spinal cord injuries are no joke; they cause difficulty in breathing, inability to move or feel sensations, loss of bladder control, numbness and weakness, problems maintaining balance, severe pain in the back and so on.
Here are 4 basic rules that we are expected to follow every day, that also help in preventing spinal cord injuries.
#1 Drive Safely
Driving safely is a rule of thumb no matter the situation. However, like mentioned above, 50% of all spinal cord injuries are also caused by vehicular accidents. Limit the risks of a SCI from vehicular accidents by:
- Wearing a seatbelt at all times, whether driving or sitting in a passenger seat
- Ensuring children below the age of 12 are always seated on the back seat with their seat belt tightly fastened to prevent damage from air bag injuries too
- Do not drink and drive and do not get in a car where you suspect the driver to be under any substance influence
- Take rest breaks on long drives
#2 Get The Right Bedding
The position you sleep in and the amount of time you sleep can also affect your spinal cord. It is important that you find a bed frame and mattress that supports your back well, be it a single bed wooden frame, a super single spring base or a queen size bed frame with drawers. The choice is yours, but make sure it is also paired with the right mattress.
If your bed is queen sized, then ensure you get a queen size mattress to go with it. The filling depends on what you prefer, some prefer soft mattresses while others like hard mattresses. Talk to a neurologist if you have to, but ensure you get the perfect match.
Just because a double mattress is on sale, that doesn’t mean you need try and fit it on a king sized bed.
#3 Prevent Falls
This might sound obvious, but it is these obvious things that we all seem to neglect.
- Use a step stool with a grab bar when trying to reach the top of a cabinet or shelf instead of pulling in a chair from the living room
- Put non-slip mats on tile floors and in the shower
- Avoid skipping steps when using the stairways
- Follow rules when playing sports and avoid tripping and falling
- Watch your step when you walk, especially on a slippery surface
#4 Beware When Diving And Swimming
Swimming in general is a great form of exercise not just for the back, but the whole body. Several times, swimming is recommended as a rehabilitation form for those with injuries. However, this too needs to be done right to avoid SCI.
- Don’t dive into a pool unless it is at least 3 meters (9 feet) deep
- Don’t dive into an aboveground pool
- Don’t swim in rough surf or on unguarded beaches
Although all these precautions seem very basic and obvious, they are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Make sure you don’t become careless and neglect to follow these basic rules for the sake of your spinal cord and safety in general.