When you’re involved in any sort of sport, your risk for injury increases. We’re not getting spinal cord injuries sitting on the couch (although many people do get them as a result of sitting in a car.
And the spine is a part of the human body that we don’t completely appreciate until there’s a problem. In this post, we’re going to touch on the importance of spinal cord protection and seven things you can do to prevent injury.
The importance of spinal cord protection
When you injure most other body parts, you know exactly what’s going to happen. You sprain your ankle, and you’ll have trouble walking for a time. Break your arm, and you’ll have some pain before you need to reset the bone. You also know there’s always a chance that your body won’t function 100 percent in the way it did before.
But an injury to the spinal cord is entirely different. It’s almost as if anything can go wrong, depending on the location and severity of the injury.
An injury to the spinal cord can cause irreversible changes to strength, sensation, and bodily function. This is why it’s crucial to protect your spine from injury at all times, especially when exercising.
7 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Spinal Cord
1. Take caution when jumping into the water – if you’re a swimmer or a diver, always check the depth of the pool before you jump. One of the quickest and easiest ways to injure your spinal cord is to jump into shallow water. You’ve probably heard the horror stories. But there are two tips to follow before you dive anywhere.
2. Check the depth – Before you jump into the water, always know the depth. This can get dicey when you’re jumping into a natural pool instead of a manmade one. Before you jump, explore the depth of the pool below. And if you have any question, don’t jump. It’s not worth the risk.
3. Estimate the height to depth ratio – When you jump from a higher point, your body will be projected deeper into the water. And if there isn’t enough depth to complete the process, you’re likely to experience a spinal cord injury. This ratio can get complicated, and it can vary based on your height and body weight, but you should be able to come up with a conservative estimate. According to the Department of Health, you should never dive headfirst into water less than 8 feet in depth.
4. Wear a helmet – If you’re engaged in any activity that requires accelerated motion, such as mountain biking, skateboarding or rollerblading, wear a helmet. While it’s true that a helmet is designed to protect your head, a 2018 Journal of Neurology study found that using a helmet is associated with a much lower risk of developing a cervical spine injury.
5. Avoid leading with your head – While it may seem appealing to jump in “head first,” this is likely to cause a head injury. So if you can avoid it, don’t lead with your head. An example of leading with your head that can be avoided is sliding headfirst to a base in baseball or tackling headfirst in football.
6. Take calculated risks – Falls are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries, and many of them can be prevented. Before you take any silly risks, remind yourself that you’re not invincible. And then, ask yourself whether the risk is wise.
7. Take baby steps – When you first get involved with a new sport, it’s tempting to give it all you’ve got. But it’s important to get familiar with the basics before you start doing anything advanced. Move forward, but do so with confidence that you know what you’re doing.
The spine is too important to expose to injury, so be sure to take these measures to prevent any preventable causes of spinal cord injury. To learn more about spinal injuries and what to do if you suffer from a spinal cord injury, visit https://www.hamparyan.com/san-diego-back-spine-injury-attorney/.