According to a new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the number of traumatic spinal cord injuries recorded in the United States is on the increase. Another major change that the research showed is that the primary cause of serious spinal cord injuries in the United States is no longer automobile collisions, but slip and fall accidents.
The Johns Hopkins research analyzed a total of 43,137 adults who received treatment in hospital emergency rooms after suffering a spinal cord injury. These adults were treated for their injuries between 2007 and 2009. The researchers found in their analysis that the incidence of spinal cord injury in the 18-64 age group ranged from 52.3 injuries per million in 2007, to 49.9 million in 2009.
While that constituted a drop in the number of traumatic spinal cord injuries that were recorded in this age category, there was an increase in the number of spinal cord injuries recorded among older citizens. In the 65 and above age group, the number of spinal cord injuries actually increased during the study period. These injuries increased from 79.4 injuries per million adults in 2007, to 87.7 injuries per million adults in 2009.
Another interesting fact that emerged out of the study is that auto accidents are no longer the number-one cause of spinal cord injuries. Slip and fall accidents seem to have taken over as the number one cause of spinal cord injury in the country. Slip and fall accidents, according to the study, were the number one cause of spinal cord injury over the three year study period, accounting for approximately 41.5% of all injuries that were recorded. Motor vehicle accidents accounted for approximately 35.5% of all injuries to the spine that were recorded during the study.
Overall, the number of slip and fall-related spinal cord injuries spiked significantly during the study period. Specifically, there was a significant increase in the number of slip and fall-related spinal injuries among seniors. In the over 65 age category, slip and fall-related spinal cord injuries increased from 23.6% to 30% of all injuries.