Have you had times in your life where EVERYTHING changes in an instant?
Every week someone’s life changes in an instant due to a spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (9-15th November 2014) is a national campaign to highlight the importance of preventing spinal cord injuries and to promote the inclusion of those with spinal cord injuries into normal community life.
A spinal cord injury happens if pressure is applied to the spinal cord, and the blood and oxygen to the cord is disrupted. The two main types of spinal cord injury are:
- Quadriplegia or tetraplegia is a neck injury resulting in the partial or complete paralysis of the upper and lower portion of the body including legs, trunks, arms and hands
- Paraplegia is a back injury affecting the lower portion of the body including the legs and some or all of the trunk.
In one of my university holidays I worked at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Ryde on a research project that involved reading and in many cases meeting the individuals and families of those who had sustained a spinal cord or brain injury. I read pages and pages of entries from doctors, nurses and pharmacists. However, the most confronting entries were the entries from the counsellors and social workers who then helped the individual and families come to terms with the absolutely life changing event that resulted in often permanent disability. The impact was not only to the individual but the family, the wider community. It sometimes altered relationships, future plans and often meant having to rebuild their lives.
The sad thing was in many cases of young men it was a risk that was taken, like jumping into shallow water that resulted in the significant injury. Of course in other cases it just a tragic accident, perhaps a car accident. Males account for more than 80% of spinal cord injuries and young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are most likely to sustain a life changing spinal cord injury. Falls are another risk to the elderly over 65 years.
The message this year is THINK! Take care whether driving, diving, riding or climbing. Don’t TEXT and DRIVE. Know the risks.
Awareness is everything when it comes to spinal cord injury prevention. A split second could last a lifetime.
For more information visit http://rebuildinglives.com.au
Article written by Dr Melanie Woollam (Osteopath)