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Can a work-related fall injure your spinal cord?


Can a work-related fall injure your spinal cord?

Regardless of your job duties or where you work, you might lose your footing and fall during your workday. This is especially true if you work on step stools or ladders. After all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls were responsible for almost 20% of the work-related injuries that occurred in 2020.

It is not uncommon for a work-related fall to cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and soft-tissue damage. While these can be serious, you might also be vulnerable to a potentially catastrophic spinal cord injury.

What is a spinal cord injury?

Your spinal cord is the super highway that carries nerve signals from your brain to the other parts of your body. To function normally, your spinal cord must be free from compression. As you might suspect, a fall can cause bones and ligaments in your neck or back to move too close to your spinal cord. If that happens, you might develop temporary or even permanent paralysis.

How can you recognize a spinal injury?

If you have discomfort in your neck, back or limbs after a fall, it is important to go to a trauma center for a medical evaluation. Still, while pain can be a sign of a spinal cord injury, you might have some other tell-tale symptoms. These can include the following:

  • Loss of sensation in your arms, legs, hands or feet
  • Difficulty moving your limbs
  • Numbness or tingling in any part of your body
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Ultimately, because prompt medical treatment can increase your odds of making a full recovery, it is critical not to take a wait-and-see approach to any possible spinal cord injury.