Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 at 3:28 am
A spinal cord injury can be serious and it can result in permanent disabilities. Immediate medical treatment is necessary to minimize the damage. If you are injured in a personal injury accident, always seek medical treatment even if you believe your injuries are not severe. Even a minor spinal cord injury can keep you from returning to work and resuming your normal daily activities.
Immediate Care for a Spinal Cord Injury
If a spinal cord injury is suspected, emergency medical services take special precautions at the accident scene. The first step is to stabilize the person and to ensure the person is able to breathe. If the accident victim is conscious, he or she must remain completely still to avoid causing more damage to the spinal cord. Emergency personnel utilize a carrying board and neck collar to immobilize the spine to prevent further damage. The person is then transported to a hospital.
Medical providers continue to ensure the person is able to breathe either on their own or with a ventilator. They work to prevent shock and to keep the person immobilized. They check other bodily systems that may be damaged due to the accident or as a complication of the spinal cord injury, such as difficulty breathing, cardiovascular issues, formation of blood clots in the arms and legs, and difficulty passing urine or stool. Diagnostic tests are performed to determine the extent of the spinal cord injury. Consultations with neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, spinal cord specialists, and physical therapists are common during the initial treatment of the injury and in the weeks and months following the accident.
The main course of treatment at first is medication. Methylprednisolone may be given within eight hours of the injury. This may result in some mild improvement. It may also reduce the extent of damage to nerve cells and reduce inflammation, but it does not reverse an injury to the spinal cord. Surgery is often required to remove bone fragments and to repair herniated discs that press on the spine. Surgery can stabilize the spine, which helps prevent further damage and pain.
Once the extent of the injury is known and any immediate health issues are resolved, the focus turns to rehabilitation. The goal is to strengthen surrounding muscles, redevelop fine motor skills, and learn how to adapt to the injury. Medications may be given to improve control of bodily functions and to manage pain and muscle spasms
A physical therapist and an occupational therapist work with the injury victim to teach him or her how to use technology to assist the person in coping with a spinal cord injury. The person may learn how to use a wheelchair, computer, and other electronics to help complete daily activities and tasks. Life can change dramatically for a spinal cord injury victim because he must learn new ways of doing things.
Electrical stimulation devices can help a person with a spinal cord injury regain some of the functions he or she lost, such as standing and walking. This type of treatment works by using electrical stimulation to control and/or stimulate muscles in the arms and legs.
Recovering From A Spinal Cord Injury
In many cases, it takes weeks or months before the full extent of a spinal cord injury is known. Generally, any recovery is made within six months of an injury, but small changes can be seen up to one year or even longer. A spinal cord injury is a serious medical condition regardless of how minor the injury might seem at the time of the accident. Permanent damage can result, which is why it should never be taken lightly. Treat any neck or back injury right away to ensure the best prognosis of recovery.
Have You Suffered A Spinal Cord Injury?
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, our attorneys can help. To learn more, call the Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or chat with a representative on our website to schedule a free case evaluation.