Traumatic spinal cord injuries are on the rise in the U.S.. For the first time in many years, falling has taken over as the leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries. Motor vehicle accidents used to be the leading cause.
This is according to new research released from Johns Hopkins.
The research also shows that the rate of traumatic spinal cord injury is highest among the elderly.
The study looked at over 43,000 people who were admitted to the hospital between 2007 and 2009. In a previous study, the average age of traumatic spinal cord injury was 41, between 2000 and 2005. In this recent study, that average age has increased to 51.
The study also shows that older adults are four times as likely to die in the emergency room from complications from the spinal injury than someone younger with a similar injury. It goes to show that the elderly are six times as likely to die if they are admitted into a hospital with a spinal cord injury than someone younger.
While researchers aren’t sure of the exact cause for the reason that falls have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of spinal cord injury, they believe that it may be due to a few factors. The population in general is aging. There are more elderly now than ever before. Car airbags and seat belts are more protective. They also list that another possible cause can be that many Americans over the age of 65 are more active than ever.
I disagree with this last cause.
The better shape someone is in, the less likely they are to fall. The better shape someone is in, the more active they will be. If someone is very active but doesn’t take care of themselves, then it is only a matter of time before their activity catches up with them and causes an injury or brings on arthritis. But if someone is in shape, if they are flexible, strong and in good heart health, then they will be able to catch themselves better when they fall. They can prevent the fall from being bad. The stronger and looser your muscles are, the less severe the injury will be from falling.
There is a huge correlation between flexibility and falling. A recent study concluded that the leasing cause of falls in the elderly is from inflexible hips.
If we don’t take care of, and manage, our muscles as we age, then they are only going to get tighter the older we get. Muscles get tight from being in a static position and not being used. Overusing weak and irritated muscles will cause them to become tighter and more irritated until they tear and become sprained, strained, pulled and injured.
If you can manage your muscles and keep them healthy, then you won’t be as susceptible to injury. We use our muscles all day and night long. We are using our muscles every minute of the day. We couldn’t breathe if it weren’t for our muscles keeping us breathing. Just like other things in our lives that get overused and abused that we have to manage like our teeth, and the tires and brakes on our cars, we have to manage and take care of our muscles. If we don’t, then they will break down. We can’t expect our brakes to keep working on our car without doing any maintenance on them. After 5 years we would have bent rotors and worn out brake pads. If we didn’t brush our teeth then we would have a mouth filled with cavities by middle age.
With this in mind, it makes sense that you have to do maintenance on your muscles and body. Through the proper maintenance, you will be able to keep yourself active and feeling good. By working the proper muscles, and working in the proper way, you will be able to keep your muscles supple and strong. You will be able to work your balancing muscles that will prevent you from falling. You will be able to keep your muscles lose so that they won’t get as injured when you do fall and pull on your muscles to try to prevent yourself from falling.
My opinion as to why traumatic spinal cord injuries are on the rise in the elderly is that the elderly population is growing. There are more elderly now than there ever were before. Our technology is getting better and we are safer in cars than we ever were before. On top of that, many people don’t know how to work out.
Many people still think that they have to go hard and have an incredibly intense workout every time. Maybe when you were 20 or 25 you could do that and get away with it. But not as you age. Now you have to go easy, and be consistent with exercise. Very few of you out there could withstand an intense, hard core work out five days a week. If you did this then you would end up injuring yourself and not being able to exercise.
If you can work your body sustainably, and work it functionally, then you will be able to prevent falls and prevent injuries. You’ll never have a chance to do a bench press in the real world. So why do them? Train muscles that you will use on a daily basis. Train all of your muscles to work together so they will be able to catch you when you fall. Train your balancing muscles so that you will be less likely to fall, and less likely to lose balance as you age. Stretch so that you can maintain range of motion as you age. This will make you less likely to fall as well.
I am sure that many of you have relatives or friends who have lost the ability to turn their heads all of the way, or to get up out of a chair without pain. All of that is preventable. You have to work at it now though, to prevent health issues in the future. Exercise in the right way. Exercise sustainably. Do low impact exercises that you are comfortable with and that won’t hurt you. That way you will be able to stick with the exercises long enough to get the benefits from them. Long enough to stick with them for the rest of your life.
The Pain Free Lifestyle program is set up to be sustainable. It is not a flash in pan exercise routine that will blast your body into shape. It is easy on your body. I designed it to be a lifelong exercise system. It is all encompassing. It incorporates stretching, strength training, cardio-vascular exercise, and an anti-inflammatory nutrition program. It is set up to be easy to begin, and easy to follow. It lists out step by step how to get into low impact exercise, how to stick with it, and how to incorporate healthy eating into your life.
Exercise sustainably. Be easy on your body. Do exercises that you can stick with long term. That is the only way that you will get any benefits from exercise. It is the Pain Free Way.