In 2014, Congress designated September as Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, and globally World Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day is also observed in September.
The impacts of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) are significant and often catastrophic. For those affected, it can mean pain and an array of other challenges. Medical consequences of SCI are not confined to the spinal cord itself and can have systemic impacts on everything from digestion to referred muscle damage. The impacts of these injuries are emotional, psychological, social, and economic and affect not only the person with the injury but also their families and friends.
What is a spinal cord injury?
Damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal cord. This injury can potentially cause permanent changes to body functions andcan reduce both strength and sensations. This kind of injury can also affect the injured mentally, emotionally and socially long term.
A spinal cord injury is characterized by symptoms such as loss of movement, loss of bladder control, difficulty breathing, intense sensations, etc. Spinal cord injuries can be caused by various reasons like damage to the vertebrae due to an accident, a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine, a penetrating wound or fall,and also diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis and inflammation of the spinal cord.
According to the most recent statistics from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center , there are an estimated 17,700 new cases occurring each year, and each case can face an estimated $3.1 MM in lifetime medical costs, not including any indirect costs such as losses in wages, fringe benefits, and productivity.
How to Raise Awareness
Wear a Green Ribbon
Wearing a green ribbon can help encourage people to ask questions, enabling you to educate and share information to expand their awareness of spinal cord injuries.
Raise Funds for Research
Another great way to help increase awareness throughout spinal cord injury month is join a local walk or fundraiser, a great place to find local opportunities is The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation https://www.christopherreeve.org/
Create your own social media campaign
You can share articles about spinal injury facts including some of the content here:
- What spinal cord injuries entail and how they affect the human body.
- The emotional impact of these injuries on the lives of survivors and their families.
- The financial cost of these injuries and what legal options SCI survivors and their families have available.
- The current state of SCI research, including stem cell research, spinal cord regeneration and more.
- How SCIs impact a survivor’s ability to make a living.