Spinal Cord Injury Physiotherapy Treatment
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What Is A Spinal Cord Injury?
The spinal cord is the major bundle of nerves carrying impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body. Rings of bone, called vertebrae, surround the spinal cord. These bones constitute the spinal column or backbones.
Spinal cord injury is the result of a direct trauma to the nerves themselves or indirect damage to the bones and soft tissues and vessels surrounding the spinal cord.
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
A spinal cord injury may be caused by:
- Bullet or stab wound
- Traumatic injury to the face, neck, head, chest, or back (for example, a car accident)
- Diving accident
- Electric shock
- Extreme twisting of the middle of the body
- Landing on the head during a sports injury
- Fall from a great height
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury may include:
- Head that is in an unusual position
- Numbness or tingling that spreads down an arm or leg
- Difficulty walking
- Paralysis (loss of movement) of arms or legs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Shock (pale, clammy skin; bluish lips and fingernails; acting dazed or semiconscious)
- Lack of alertness (unconsciousness)
- Stiff neck, headache, or neck pain
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Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
Treatment options are limited, but prosthetic technologies and therapeutic drugs that may help nerve cells regenerate or improve how well-remaining nerves function are being developed.
Immediately after an accident, emergency responders immobilize the spine using a stiff neck collar and carrying the board in order to transport the patient. Emergency treatment involves maintaining breathing ability, preventing shock, keeping the neck immobilized, and preventing complications such as blood clots.
Once a patient is diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, they may receive medications, such as Methylprednisolone (Medrol), which can cause mild improvement in some patients, if taken within eight hours of injury. Doctors may use traction (often by attaching metal braces and weights to the skull to prevent it moving) to stabilize the spine and/or realign it. Surgery may be needed to remove fragments of bone, herniated disks, fractured vertebrae or foreign objects, or to stabilize the spine to minimize pain or future deformity.