Trauma to the spinal cord can be devastating, leading to varying degrees of paralysis, sensory loss and autonomic system dysfunction.
Some people are able to regain full functionality after an accident that causes such damage; however, many others do not, and are forced to live with significant disabilities caused by these types of injuries.
While there’s no surefire way to prevent spinal cord injuries, there are certain things you can do in order to speed up your recovery and improve your chances of regaining functionality if you do sustain such an injury.
Seek a medical attention
If you have experienced trauma to your spinal cord, it is important that you seek medical attention in order to prevent permanent damage. It is not always easy to know when it’s time to call a doctor, but there are some symptoms that should be cause for concern.
For example, numbness or tingling in extremities could indicate nerve damage. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or want more information on how to care for yourself after trauma, please contact our office today.
Once your spinal cord has been injured, it is important that you get rehabilitation as soon as possible. If not, your injury could worsen and you may lose some of your mobility.
There are a few different types of rehabilitation that can be done for spinal cord injuries: occupational therapy, physical therapy, and neuro-rehabilitation (or intensive neuro-rehabilitation).
If surgery is necessary, a spinal cord surgeon will fuse together the vertebrae. This procedure is called an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).
The surgeon removes any herniated or degenerative disc material that may be pinching against your spinal cord. Then they will surgically remove all but one of the discs between two adjacent vertebrae.
It is important that you take medication as prescribed by your doctor, so that you can adequately recover from trauma to the spinal cord. If it is not prescribed, do not use any medications other than those that have been recommended by a medical professional.
For example, some over-the-counter drugs may aggravate nerve pain and reduce circulation to the spine; therefore, these should be avoided.
Try physical therapy
Physical therapy is an important treatment for trauma to the spinal cord. It can help improve movement, decrease pain, and reduce muscle spasms in injured areas. Exercise and stretching are two key components of physical therapy.
A physical therapist will work with you individually or in a group setting to set goals that meet your specific needs. Goals can include: increasing flexibility, strengthening muscles, decreasing pain levels, and improving balance.
There are some different ways you can recover from spinal cord trauma, depending on your injury and how long it is before you begin rehabilitation. However, the key thing here is to start early, as the sooner you begin your rehab, the better your chances at recovery.