Car crashes are a major cause of spinal cord injuries, resulting in devastating consequences for those affected. When a vehicle collision occurs, the abrupt and forceful impact can cause trauma to the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete paralysis.
The severity of spinal cord injuries sustained in car crashes varies. However, many people affected by these injuries face long roads to recovery.
How spinal cord injuries happen
In car crashes, spinal cord injuries typically occur due to the sudden movement of the body upon impact. When the force of the collision jolts the body, it can cause the spinal cord to stretch, compress or tear. As a result, individuals may experience loss of sensation, motor function and bowel or bladder control below the level of injury. In severe cases, spinal cord injuries can lead to permanent disability and lifelong medical complications.
How to prevent spinal cord injuries
While it may not be possible to prevent all car crashes, there are measures that drivers and passengers can take to reduce the risk of spinal cord injuries. Wearing seat belts and ensuring proper use of child safety seats can decrease the likelihood of ejection or severe impact during a collision. Avoiding distractions while driving, such as texting or using a cell phone, can also help drivers maintain focus and react more quickly to hazards on the road.
How those affected cope
For individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries in car crashes, rehabilitation and ongoing support are key to the recovery process. Rehabilitation programs aim to improve mobility, strength and independence through physical therapy, occupational therapy and assistive devices. Additionally, emotional and psychological support services can help individuals and their families cope with the challenges of living with a spinal cord injury.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that car accidents cause 38.52% of all spinal cord injuries. This figure highlights the fact that communities and law enforcement agencies must do more to prevent these injuries and improve outcomes for those affected by them.