Rehabilitation is a serious issue. In this page we will investigate causes, symptoms and treatment options for spinal cord injuries as well as rehabilitation at spinal cord injury rehab centers. If you or someone you know has a spinal cord injury, we urge you to seek out spinal cord injury rehab centers in your area to find a rehabilitation center near you. Clinics, programs, and treatment options are available at spinal cord injury rehab centers in your area.
The spinal cord is your body’s switchboard sending nerve impulses to and fro. Sometimes it reacts before the brain does in reflex action such as pulling your hand back from a flame. The spinal cord communicates through electrical impulses. If that communications path gets broken, it’s like cutting a phone wire. The patient loses function. Spinal cord injury rehab centers work with patients to restore functionality.
The spinal cord is encased by the vertebrae, the bones of the spine which protect it. Spinal injury often begins with a blow forcing a vertebra to press on a nerve or tear it. The first step in diagnosing a spinal cord injury is determining exactly at which vertebra the trauma occurred. This determination is essential in predicting which specific parts of the body may be affected by paralysis and loss of motor function or sensation. For example, damage to the lumbar or sacral regions of the spinal cord typically results in decreased control of the legs. Damage to the C7 and T1 regions of the spine interferes with finger and hand dexterity but allows for restricted arm use. This stage is generally considered to be the limit at which a patient can retain functional independence. The higher the injury on the spine, the less functionality is left.
Once the location of the injury is determined, the next step is to test for its severity. In the worst spinal trauma, the cord can no longer relay any messages below the level of the injury. In some cases there is only partial function. If the patient is lucky, the damage is not permanent. Inflammation from injury or disease can press on the spinal cord causing a temporary loss of feeling or function.
Spinal cord injury rehab centers often concentrate on specific levels of disability, so find one that specializes in the degree of impairment shown by the patient. Spinal cord injury rehab centers also tend to favor treatment of different causes of spinal cord trauma, from spinal bifida to auto accidents so choose one that matches the patient’s reason for seeking therapy.
Problems from spinal cord injury can vary as well. At the least severe, neuropathic pain or numbness could be a problem, but the issues mount. Bladder and bowel functions are regulated by the spine. Incontinence could be one problem after traumatic injury, as is sexual dysfunction. Loss of breathing control might require mechanical ventilation. A patient could use the ability to regulate heart rate and blood pressure, so find a spinal cord injury rehabilitation center equipped to handle the symptoms the patient will expect.
When the patient finishes with the medical side of her recovery, getting out of the hospital she’ll receive an assessment. Traumatic spinal cord injury is classified into five categories by the American Spinal Injury Association, ASIA and the International Spinal Cord Injury Classification System. This classification looks at both motor function and sense perception. The scale ranges from A which is used to signify complete spinal cord injury to D, incomplete motor and sensory function. E is considered normal functionality. It’s possible to have injury to the spine without spinal cord injury such as whiplash, where the problems are fleeting.
Spinal cord injury rehab centers offer a range of therapies. Patients deserve a highly individualized, well mapped out recovery program that includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as needed. It should be aggressive yet sympathetic, augmented by group therapy sessions, family counseling and home environment assessment. During the initial phase at a spinal cord injury rehab center some patients will require ongoing 24 hour a day medical care. This option can allow for early release from a hospital.
Depending on the extent of the spinal injury and length of the recovery, the next step can evolve into ongoing supported care or transitional care which eases a patient back into reintegration with his community. For those able to do so, most spinal cord injury rehab centers offer vocational training so that patients can restore their self respect by learning how to earn a living again despite their new physical limitations. As a patient improves, a good spinal cord injury rehab center will also offer treatment on an outpatient basis for visits during the day