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Don’t Fall For It – Avoiding Spinal Trauma is Possible

Dr. Anand Blog Article

October 4th, 2017

Over the years, I’ve written extensively on how spine surgery can be avoided for a variety of conditions that cause back pain and when it can’t, how it can be performed minimally invasively. Most of those articles have an asterisk disclaimer that comes with them because traumatic spine injuries are that “exception to the rule.” In cases where the spine has been acutely injured in such a way that only surgery can fix it, the option for minimally invasive repair isn’t always available. Sometimes, immediate life or death decisions must be made and the opportunity to weigh pros and cons cannot be afforded. This difficult message has a silver lining, however. You can reduce your risk of catastrophic spine injury. Here’s how:

Dodge Distraction

One of the greatest potential circumstances that can result in traumatic spine injury is a car accident. Of course, we cannot control how other drivers behave, but we have complete control of how we do. With handheld technology and texting, the risks of being involved in a serious vehicle collision have increased over the years. I’ve seen evidence of it in the emergency room and I am here to tell you that the “I’m on my way” text is never, ever worth the risk. Put your phone in the glove compartment while you drive. Whatever or whoever is on it can wait.

Avoiding Spinal Trauma

De-Clutter Your Domain

Especially for those who are elderly, hard falls can result in spinal trauma after simply tripping over a shoe in the hallway. Contrary to what many believe, you don’t have to fall off the roof to cause a spine injury. A hard-enough fall inside the home over something seemingly harmless can do plenty of damage. Especially before you retire for bed, make sure the pathway to the bathroom (or wherever else you might end up in the middle of the night, in the dark) is free of trip hazards.

Work Wisely

For some people, the risk of spinal injury is a work-related possibility. Work that involves repetitive twisting, bending and lifting can result in degenerative spinal disease over time and may increase the risk of spinal fracture. For those who engage in labor-intensive careers, acute spine injury can be avoided by remembering safety first. Utilize the proper protective equipment, always. Don’t cut corners with scaling shelves instead of using a ladder, for example, if a piece of safety equipment isn’t working properly, be sure to inform your supervisor immediately. Even if the safety gear feels bulky or takes a while to enable, it is there for your protection. Use it.

Reduce Risk

Statistically, younger men have a higher risk of developing a traumatic spine injury than any other gender/age group. This is likely because younger men tend to engage in riskier physical behaviors than its older cohorts. Regardless of what the statistics tell us, no one’s spine is indestructible. They can and do break. Especially when in public places, pay attention to warning posts. For example, if there is a sign posted that indicates shallow depths in some body of water, don’t dive into it. Those warnings aren’t suggestions; they’re there for a reason. Disobeying warnings is never worth the potential thrill of the event. Paralysis and a lifetime of pain can befall even the most physically fit people out there. There are ways to access adventure without putting yourself at great bodily risk. Seek those opportunities instead and don’t leap head-first (literally and figuratively) into the unknown.


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