If you sustain a spinal cord injury in an accident in Kansas City, such as a motor vehicle collision or construction site accident, you may suffer its aftereffects for life. Many spinal cord injuries are permanent. Others, however, can be treated with a few proven medical options. Even if you have a permanent spine injury, certain treatments may help you manage your symptoms, increase your mobility and independence, and improve your quality of life.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury describes any type of damage to an element of the spine, including its vertebrae, disks and nerves. Since the spine is the messenger between the body and the brain, an injury that damages the spine can be catastrophic for the victim. Severe spinal cord injuries result in paralysis, or the loss of function and feeling below the point of injury. Paralysis is irreversible and permanent, in most cases. Less serious spinal cord injuries can still cause pain and immobility.
What to Do Immediately After a Spinal Cord Injury
Many different types of accidents can cause serious spinal cord injuries in Kansas City, including car crashes and sports or diving accidents. If you suspect that someone has a spinal cord injury after any type of accident, take the following steps to minimize the damage:
Call 911 and request an ambulance.
Keep the victim as still as possible. Only move a victim from the accident site if it is absolutely necessary for his or her safety.
Minimize neck movement by placing rolled towels or sheets on either side of the victim’s neck.
If the victim is unconscious, begin CPR compressions while being careful not to move the person’s head or neck.
Follow an emergency responder’s directions until paramedics arrive.
The early signs of a spinal cord injury can include back pain, numbness or tingling in the back or limbs, pressure in the neck or back, loss of bladder or bowel control, weakness, and incoordination. If you or someone else is experiencing any of these symptoms after an accident, get professional help right away.
Treatments Available for Spinal Cord Injuries
Unfortunately, some types of damage to the spine are irreversible. Even so, patients with permanent spinal cord injuries may be able to improve their quality of living with special treatments. Other patients can heal more minor types of spinal cord injuries with a multimodal treatment approach. Current treatments available for spinal cord injuries include:
A patient who is diagnosed with a spine injury may receive prescriptions for different types of medications, including painkillers and medicines to reduce muscle spasms. These medications are to help moderate symptoms, not to heal the injury.
Emergency surgery may be used to treat an acute spinal cord injury in order to remove fluid that is pressing on the spinal cord, bone fragments or foreign objects, or to treat the injury with spinal fusion or braces.
Rehabilitation and therapies. Rehabilitation and different types of therapies, such as physical and vocational therapies, can be beneficial for victims. Rehabilitation can help with muscle strengthening, mobility, fine motor skills, self-grooming, communication and more.
Experimental treatments. Scientists are currently researching spinal cord injury treatments and are always coming out with new experimental treatments that may be able to improve a patient’s outcome.
In addition to a medical treatment plan, a patient with a spinal cord injury may also need medical devices such as wheelchairs, electronic aids and computer adaptations for long-term or permanent disability. The exact treatment regime recommended will depend on the individual patient, injury, diagnosis and prognosis.
Can You Recover From a Spinal Cord Injury?
The answer to this question depends on your unique spinal cord injury. Your physician may not be able to give you an accurate prognosis right away. Spine injuries can be unpredictable. Recovery from a spinal cord injury, if possible, typically reaches its peak about six months after the injury. However, many patients experience smaller improvements over a longer period of time. Learn more about the treatment options available for your unique spinal cord injury by talking to your doctor.