The healing process for spinal cord injuries often begins in the hospital as soon as possible after the injury has taken place. How well you recover will be directly proportional to the severity of your injuries.
Injuries to the spinal cord can sometimes cause patients to experience a loss of function in various parts of the body. This dysfunction may be irreversible in some cases. Despite this, there are some people who are able to make a full recovery.
Injuries to the spinal cord have been linked to the development of secondary diseases such as pressure sores and blood clots. People who have secondary ailments like these will require long-term care for their conditions.
In this article, we will examine what recovery may look like for a person who has had a spinal cord injury, including the stages of rehabilitation, long-term care, and the assistance that a person may receive.
According to estimates provided by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, there are around 17,000 spinal cord injuries sustained annually in the United States. The majority of people who have damaged their spinal cord are male.
For instance, those who have only partial damage to their spinal cords have a better chance of making a full recovery.
An incomplete injury is one in which the spinal cord is damaged, but messages from the brain are still able to reach the rest of the body. This type of injury occurs when something causes just partial damage to the spinal cord. An injury that is complete is a more serious condition that prevents all nerve signals from flowing through the spinal cord.
The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grading system will be utilized by the attending medical professional in order to provide a severity rating for the patient’s injury. A full injury is denoted by a grading of ASIA A on this scale, whereas a grading of ASIA E indicates that the person’s damage has not impaired their sensory or muscle function in any way.
Injuries to the spinal cord can cause many people to lose the ability to move their bodies, often known as paralysis. In most cases, those who have sustained partial injuries will restore some level of function. On the other hand, it is quite unusual to make a full recovery.
According to WHO, the period of time immediately following an injury in which the risk of mortality is at its peak is the first year after the incident. People who have suffered spinal injuries during this time have a mortality risk that is two to five times higher than that of people who have not suffered an accident.
After sustaining a spinal cord injury (SCI), it is very important to keep up with a regular exercise regimen in order to maintain one’s health and level of activity. Because of these injuries, many people who have survived a spinal cord injury may end up adopting a sedentary lifestyle, which can result in the development of other health concerns.
More information regarding the stages of recovery can be found in the sections that follow.
Immediately after a spinal cord injury, a patient will enter the first stage of the recovery process. As a result of this, you will need to spend some time in the hospital, most likely in the intensive care unit. Surgery is a possibility that may be required in some cases for a patient.
A physician will first examine the patient to ensure that they have unobstructed airways and that their heart is regularly beating. Next, they will examine their range of motion and determine whether or not the individual’s arms and legs have any sensation.
In order to maintain spinal integrity, the physician might fit the patient with an orthopedic device known as a cervical collar.
Long-term care will be organized on a case-by-case basis by the attending physician once the initial treatment has been completed in the hospital. Someone who has suffered a spinal injury will only be released from medical care if they have reached a stable condition.
Rehabilitation is the primary activity during the second stage of recovery, which takes place outside of the medical facility. Participation in physical or occupational therapy, as well as counseling, is sometimes a component of this type of treatment.
In the majority of instances, a person will almost certainly be required to reside in a subacute rehabilitation center, where they will receive up to three hours of rehabilitation treatment each and every day.
During the first year, it is recommended that certain individuals see their primary care physician on a regular basis. The process of rehabilitation and care will frequently continue for a significant amount of time.
Those who have suffered injuries to their spinal cord, along with their carers, will need to keep a close eye out for any issues during this time.
After suffering an accident, it may take up to 18 months for a person to regain a part of the function in their body. Even when several years have passed since the damage, it is possible for some people to regain their function.
The management of patients who have had spinal cord injuries over the long term can be difficult. The degree of the injury, as well as its location, will both play a role in determining the type of therapy that will be administered.
When it comes to helping with rehabilitation, a physician will typically recommend several different types of therapy. In addition to this, they will work to either prevent or treat secondary health disorders, as these are rather frequent in patients who have suffered spinal injuries.
Tetraplegia and quadriplegia are both terms that can be used to refer to this type of paralysis.
As a secondary consequence of their injuries, some individuals may also struggle with issues related to their mental health. In point of fact, anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of patients who have spinal injuries exhibit some indicators of depression.
Emotional counseling or psychotherapy may be helpful for addressing the mental health concerns that are common among people who have had spine injuries.
Those who have suffered injuries to the spinal cord have access to a wide variety of different types of support.
Immediate assistance will be provided by medical professionals. People who suffer injuries that are expected to last a long time are typically in close communication with their medical staff. Having a healthy relationship with them is an essential component of the healing process.
During the recovery stage, patients with spinal cord injuries may also get ongoing care from a variety of therapists, such as physical therapists and psychotherapists.
Other sources of support include members of one’s own family and others they care about. They have the ability to provide both physical and mental support, as well as alleviate feelings of solitude.
It’s possible that some people have a caregiver who assists them with this, as well as with other day-to-day activities like getting dressed and cleaning their hands.
The severity of an injury to the spinal cord will determine how well a patient will recover from the condition.
Injuries to the spinal cord almost often require extensive amounts of rehabilitation and recovery time. The treatment starts as soon as possible following the injury. Hospitalization and, in some cases, surgical intervention marks the beginning phases of the healing process.
People who have suffered injuries to their spinal cords are at the greatest risk within the first year after the accident. As a direct consequence of this, throughout this first year, there will be numerous checkups.
Up to 18 months after the injury, it is feasible for some persons to regain some function if they have been properly treated. However, a significant number of people may endure a persistent decline in function, which will necessitate ongoing care.