Experiencing a spinal cord injury (SCI) in Connecticut can change your life quickly. Understanding the statistics associated with SCI can provide you with information on potential outcomes and the prognosis for recovery.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries
Each year, close to 300,000 people experience a spinal cord injury in the United States. In that population, about 78 percent of those injured are males. Common causes of SCI include the following:
- Auto accidents
- Gunshot wounds
- Motorcycle accidents
In a sample conducted of 34,683 individuals with SCI, 32 percent had an auto accident, 23.1 percent suffered a fall and 15.2 percent received their SCI from a gunshot wound. Motorcycle accidents made up 6.1 percent of the injuries and diving was 5.7 percent.
Common effects of SCI
The spinal cord is the primary source for transferring motor and sensory nerve signals between the muscles and brain. When SCI occurs, those signals cannot be transferred correctly, resulting in paralysis and loss of sensation. The primary effects arising from SCI include impaired sensation and motor control.
The outcome of SCI can vary due to the severity of the injury. A mild injury may leave partial functionality, while severe damage may produce total paralysis. Common complications arising from SCI include the following:
- Spasticity and muscle tightness
- Neurogenic pain
- Depression and weight gain
- Problems maintaining proper body temperature
- Pressure sores
- Respiratory complications
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
Complete versus incomplete SCI
Having an incomplete SCI means minor damage is done to the spinal cord, which may allow for partial transfer of motor and sensory nerve signals. With this type of injury, more function and sensation may be present.
A complete SCI occurs when a lesion completely cuts across the spinal cord, making it impossible for sensory and motor nerve signals to travel into other areas of the body. Recent data indicates that around 67.1 percent of spinal injuries are incomplete.
Learning about these statistics associated with SCI offers information on what to expect initially and in the future.