September is spinal cord injury awareness month

Across many parts of the country, September brings to mind brightly colored fall leaves, breezy temperatures and pumpkin-flavored everything. While Florida may skip the fall leaves and cooler temperatures, September is also Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. Spinal cord injuries affect people of every age, location and demographic every year, and the results can be devastating.

At the most general level, a spinal cord injury is an injury that results in damage to the spinal column, which can include disks, vertebrae or ligaments, or the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries are often caused by sudden trauma, but the extent of the injury can increase in the days after the initial event as fluids build up around the spine and swelling increases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, traumatic spinal cord injuries are most often caused by motor vehicle accidents, with more than 40 percent of spinal cord injuries being caused by car or motorcycle accidents. For those over the age of 65, a spinal cord injury is most likely to be caused by a fall. Athletes are also at risk, with 8 percent of spinal cord injuries every year being attributed to sports or other recreational activities.

The severity of a spinal cord injury can vary widely, but severe injuries can result in partial to full paralysis. As the severity of the injury increases, so does the level and cost of the necessary medical care. Spinal cord injuries often mean long-term care for the patient. If the injury was due to another party’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit can help victims begin to recover financially so that they can focus on their lives moving forward.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Spinal cord injury” Sep. 15, 2014