Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury refers to any physical damage to the spinal cord or to the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. The location and the severity of the injury will determine one’s ability to control and feel his or her limbs.

Neurological Level of Injury

The level of injury or the lowest part of the spinal cord that is functioning normally is the neurological level of injury. This is the part of the spinal cord where the body functions normally.

Completeness

The severity of the spinal cord injury is determined by the completeness. Complete spinal cord injury results in the loss of almost all sensory (feeling) and motor function (ability to control movement) below the affected area of the spinal cord. Incomplete spinal cord injury means that some of the sensory and motor functions below the affected area are lost.

Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury

Treatment for spinal cord injury focuses on preventing any further damage to the spinal cord. For instance, treatment starts at the scene of the accident. It is critical to provide immediate medical attention to the victim by ensuring that the head, neck and back are immobilized. When medical personnel arrive, they will typically place a rigid neck collar and a rigid carrying board to secure the patient while on transport to the nearest hospital.

Immediate treatment is required for spinal cord injury. Doctors will concentrate on maintaining the patient’s ability to breathe while preventing shock. They will also ensure to prevent complications like cardiovascular and respiratory difficulties, stool and urine retention and deep vein blood clots. Moreover, they will prevent more damage to the spinal cord by immobilizing the patient.

Unfortunately, spinal cord injury cannot be reversed. Once the injury has occurred, the main goal of doctors is to prevent further damage to the spine. Medication is also necessary to reduce nerve damage and inflammation in the affected area. Surgery may also be performed to remove bone fragments, herniated disks or fractured vertebrae that may be constricting the spine. Afterwards, doctors focus on preventing complications that may arise after the injury, such as pressure ulcers, respiratory infections and bladder and bowel problems.

Prostheses and medications also help patients obtain SCI recovery and return to their normal lives. Moreover, new medical and technological advances are empowering patients with spinal cord injury so that they lead active and productive lives.