Physical Injuries and Disabilities
Injuries come in all shapes and sizes and the effects of injury run the gamut: some result in temporary discomfort that appears and disappears quickly, others result in serious disability and pain that may not manifest itself for years. While most injuries aren’t listed specifically by the SSA, they can cause impairments that are. Existing joint damage will facilitate arthritis later on, an old back injury may have left intervertebral discs damaged, and blunt cardiac injury often leads to cardiovascular complications. It is most important to recognize these injuries and start documenting them early on; injuries of all kinds are at their most dangerous when they go unnoticed.
Many back injuries cannot be attributed to just one cause, but are more often the sum of many smaller injuries that occur over a long period of time. With that in mind, there are still a number of everyday actions that can be directly linked to the development of chronic back pain and loss of mobility. Twisting, bending, reaching, lifting heavy objects, even sitting or standing in one place for too long can lead to back problems, and these are things most of us do every day.
When we think about heart health, blunt trauma isn’t a danger that comes readily to mind; it is a mistake to discount it, though, because blunt cardiac injury (BCI) is involved in up to 20% of all motor vehicle collision deaths. The exact prevalence of BCI is unknown since it tends to be under-reported. The most common type of BCI is a myocardial contusion, a bruising of the heart muscle. Myocardial contusions are caused by car collisions, resuscitation, or falls from above 20 feet, and they share many symptoms with heart attacks.
With many of the same causes as back injuries, this section focuses on injuries to the spinal column itself. Damage to the spine and spinal nerve can cause paralysis, deterioration of motor control, loss of feeling, and other serious impairments.
Joint injuries can lead to pain, inflammation, and decreased utility both immediately proceeding the injury and long after. While regular exercise is a key to maintaining healthy joints, most common joint injuries are sport or exercise related. Acute injuries like strains, sprains, and dislocations have an immediate and noticeable effect, but repetitive stress and improper exercise technique will lead to problems down the road. Joint injury and joint pain is also brought on or exacerbated by congenital conditions like hypermobility syndrome.