Getting Back On Track: Helping Northern Californians Understand Different Treatment Options For Spinal Cord Injuries
Suffering a spinal cord injury (SCI) is a catastrophic and life-changing occurrence. While some symptoms of SCI may never go away, excellent treatments and rehabilitation programs exist to ease pain and discomfort, improve mobility and increase independence for people living with SCI.
Immediate Treatment Options After A Spinal Cord Injury
Immediately after a serious accident, medical personnel can try numerous tactics to ease the victim’s pain and prevent further injury. For example, braces can be used to provide support and immobilize the spine. If administered within a few hours of the injury-causing accident, methylprednisolone (Medrol) can reduce inflammation and slow the progress of the SCI. However, Medrol is not a cure for SCI.
Once the patient is stabilized and there is a clear diagnosis of SCI, doctors may perform surgery to remove any bone fragments or foreign objects lodged in the spinal region. Additionally, surgery may be helpful to extract fractured vertebrae that may be compressing the spine. In some cases, surgery is performed to stabilize the spine and prevent a deformity from developing.
Later, doctors can prescribe medications to control pain and muscle spasticity and to improve bladder control, bowel control and sexual function.
As injured parties begin to recover, many types of rehabilitative activities can help them live independently and resume life. Typical recommendations include:
- Physical, occupational and recreational therapy
- Rehabilitative psychology
- Dietitian assistance
- Physiatrist assistance
These rehabilitative efforts are designed to help individuals:
- Maintain and strengthen muscle function
- Redevelop fine motor skills
- Learn new techniques to accomplish daily tasks
- Learn more about their injury and effects on their bodies
- Learn about ways to mitigate complications
- Learn to rebuild their lives
- Increase their quality of life