Treatment and complications of a spinal cord injury

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Blog, Injuries |

A spinal cord injury can have a profound impact on an individual’s life. It can affect mobility and overall well-being.

Understanding the treatment options and potential complications can help you move forward after experiencing a SCI.

Initial medical treatment

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of SCIs (39%), followed by falls (32%) and assaults (13.5%). To address an SCI, the physician stabilizes the patient to prevent further damage.

Next, the provider may conduct emergency medical interventions. Treatments may include immobilization, surgery to remove bone fragments or foreign objects and care for coexisting injuries.

Long-term rehabilitation

Successful SCI treatment requires rehabilitation to enhance independence and quality of life. Your healthcare team may recommend physical therapy, occupational therapy and other specialized interventions. These treatments help patients regain strength, improve mobility and adapt to the challenges of the injury.

Prescription medications

Medications can manage symptoms and complications of SCIs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe pain medications, muscle relaxants or other drugs.

Assistive and adaptive devices

Assistive devices allow individuals with SCIs to navigate daily life. Examples include such as wheelchairs, braces and communication aids.

Adaptive technologies continue to advance. These innovative solutions can enhance independence and functionality.

Possible complications

Nervous system complications may include chronic pain, muscle spasms and changes in sensation. Individuals with SCIs can also face respiratory challenges, including difficulty breathing and infections.

In addition, SCIs can impact cardiovascular health, causing issues such as low blood pressure and a higher risk of blood clots.

It is also important to address the psychological impact of an SCI. Patients commonly face mental health challenges like depression and anxiety. Talk to your healthcare team to connect with psychological resources such as therapy.

Managing an SCI requires a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. Medical interventions, rehabilitation and ongoing support can help you regain function and quality of life.