What Are Spinal Cord Injuries?
There are four different areas of the spine, each of which protects different groups of nerves that all control Spinal cord injuries can be divided into two categories:
- Complete spinal cord injuries cause permanent damage to the area of the spinal cord that is affected. These are the most serious kind of spinal cord injury and, depending on their severity, can result in an individual suffering with paraplegia or tetraplegia.
- Incomplete spinal injuries are where partial damage is inflicted to the spinal cord. A person’s ability to maintain regular movement and feeling is entirely dependant on the severity of their injury. Recovery differs on a case-by-case basis and is impacted by a person’s general health and medical history.
Avoiding Spinal Injuries
There are a number of things that you can do to reduce the risk of spinal injuries. By making minor changes to your lifestyle and habits, you can decrease the likelihood that you’ll end up with a spinal injury that causes you to have time off work, or worse, a life-changing health condition. During the fall and winter months, risks increase in the Pacific Northwest. Less daylight, wet ground, and fallen leaves create an environment that increases the risk of slipping and falling. Day-to-day activities unique to this time of year such as cleaning clogged gutters, raking, and clearing storm drains create additional opportunities for injury. Recreational activities like riding your bike, skiing, and snowboarding can create even more risk of injury when combined with wet conditions. While many of these activities can’t be completely avoided it is possible to reduce your chances of spinal injury by being cautious.
Avoid Risky Activities
When the weather gets worse, some people should avoid doing activities that present a risk of slipping or falling. If you’ve experienced a severe injury or have had issues with balance in the past you might be better off avoiding certain activities. Under certain circumstances, it may be better to hire out for yard and housework tasks. If you need your roof or your gutters to be cleaned, consider hiring professionals to do it for you. Getting the help of a professional means you not only get a top-quality job done, but you also reduce the risk of anybody getting injured, as professionals are used to working in all sorts of weather.
Take Care of Slippery Surfaces
As leaves begin to fall, you may notice that when it rains a slick surface is created. This can be slippery for even the most agile of people. By investing in a good pair of shoes or boots you can reduce the likelihood that you’ll fall on slippery surfaces. Ideally, avoid slippery surfaces as much as possible and if you know that a route you’re planning on taking is lined with trees, consider finding an alternate route that’s a bit safer. If you have a wood deck or porch it could potentially use a power washing to clean off the thin layer of mildew that forms during the Fall months. That mildew, which can’t always be seen from the naked eye, becomes very slippery when wet. If you’re worried about hurting yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Improving the safety of your home is important. Getting piles of wet leaves off your sidewalk or power washing the outdoor surfaces around your home can create a much safer environment.
Be Alert When Driving
Take extra care when driving in wet or low visibility conditions. Car accidents account for a large portion of spinal injuries and as the weather gets worse later in the year, the number of spinal injuries reported as a result of car accidents increases. By always sticking to the speed limits, paying attention to the actions of other drivers, you reduce the risk of being involved in a car crash that leaves you with a spinal injury. Always drive with a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. As conditions get worse, the safe distance becomes longer. Consider taking your car to the mechanic to check the tread on your tires as slick tires can reduce your stopping time. Stick to the speed limits, drive safely, and ensure your car is roadworthy, and you’ll dramatically reduce the chances that you end up in a serious automobile wreck.
With the help of this short guide, you should now have a better idea of what you can do to stay safe during the fall. Nobody wants to risk sustaining a life-changing injury, follow the advice laid out here, and you’ll reduce the chances that it could happen to you.