Spinal cord injuries are particularly problematic for seniors. Studies show today’s seniors, who are more active than previous generations, are sustaining more spinal injuries, many of them catastrophic. Though severity can vary from person to person, there are 5 common spine injuries seniors sustain. As a leading provider of home care, Omaha Home Care Assistance believes it’s vital for seniors and their families to learn about these injuries and how to prevent them.
1. Fall-Related Injuries
Injuries from falls are the most common type of spinal injuries in seniors. These injuries can be treated with physical therapy, surgery, and medications. However, prevention is crucial. Speaking with a doctor, getting regular vision exams, doing strengthening and balance activities, and installing safety measures in the home are all highly recommended prevention methods.
2. Vertebral Compression Injuries
Vertebral compression injuries are common in seniors. They are often the result of osteoporosis. Treatment includes bed rest, physical therapy, and pain management. One of the most effective prevention strategies is to check with a doctor for predisposition conditions.
3. Central Cord Syndrome
Central cord syndrome is often the result of neck hyperextension in senior citizens who have a co-occurrence of spinal stenosis or have fallen. It is the most common incomplete spinal cord injury and results in loss of sensation of pain and light touch.
4. Anterior Cord Syndrome
Anterior cord syndrome is often the result of herniated discs or fractured vertebrae, causing damage to the front of the spinal cord or reduction in blood flow. The mortality rate is 20 percent.
5. Multiple Spinal Compression Fractures
Vertebrae can collapse with multiple spinal compression fractures, causing the spine to curve and generating hip pain and even breathing problems. Seniors prone to falling can have multiple compression fractures. Fall-proofing the home environment and seeing a doctor to check on spinal conditions can prevent multiple fractures from occurring.
If your elderly loved one lives alone at home and you are concerned about his or her risk of spine injuries, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to help seniors remain safe and comfortable while aging in place, and we also offer comprehensive stroke, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s care Omaha families trust. For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Care Managers, call (402) 249-0204 today.