Spinal cord injuries or SCIs can alter the course of your life. Because you cannot reverse damage to the spinal cord, doctors have to focus treatment on injury prevention and empowering patients to live a productive life, explains MayoClinic.
Following an SCI, emergency workers will try to immobilize the spine quickly to prepare you for transport to the hospital.
When you first arrive at the hospital, doctors must maintain your ability to breathe and keep you from further injuring your spinal cord. The physicians keep you immobile and work to prevent shock. Sometimes surgical intervention happens early. Doctors may need to remove foreign objects, bone fragments, fractured vertebrae or herniated discs. Additionally, surgery can stabilize your spine to prevent future pain.
Most patients undergo rehabilitation in the early stages of recovery. You may meet with a team that includes a rehabilitation nurse, occupational therapist, rehabilitation psychologist, dietitian and recreation therapist.
The therapists will help you maintain your muscle function and relearn fine motor skills in the early stages of your rehabilitation. In addition, you have to learn how to adapt to your new normal. For instance, you may have to learn new ways to perform old skills.
Since spinal cord injuries can lead to disabilities, there are various technologies to help you continue to stay active. Computer adaptations, wheelchairs, electronic aids and other devices can help you maintain an active lifestyle. Rehabilitation may also include medication. Some medications can help if you struggle with muscle spasticity, pain or bladder control. Rehabilitation focuses on allowing you to live as independently as possible.