Our last post covered common spinal cord injuries. This post will outline some common treatments. This is just an introductory information and not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Please contact our office today for a complete evaluation.
The primary goals in treating spinal cord injury are an increased likelihood of proper healing and recovery, improved control over further nerve damage, or the inhibiting thereof, and spinal column stabilization. The type of injury sustained will be assessed, and patients may be placed in a collar, halo-vest, or a body brace. Sometimes, surgery may be necessary.
Spinal cord surgery is usually performed by spinal surgery specialists. The procedure involves the placement of metal plates, screws, and materials for bone grafting in order to fuse the affected spine. The spine may be realigned, or spinal bones (discs or vertebrae) may be removed to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord.
Immediate recovery and confinement emphasize monitoring for conditions that may develop as a result of a spinal cord injury. These include heart rate and blood pressure problems, respiratory failure, pressure ulcers, and blood clots in the legs.
Once stabilized and recovered to the point of mobility, the patient may undergo a series of physical and occupational therapies in a specialized rehabilitation facility. This step is designed to help the patient maximize his or her functional abilities, and assists in a speedier return to preoperative daily activities. Rehab centers will also provide access to counseling and support groups, which can be very helpful to both the patients and their families as they cope with living with an SCI.
Increased survival rates and longer lifespans of SCI patients have prompted the healthcare industry to develop strategies to enhance patient quality of life. Improvements range anywhere from lighter wheelchairs to the development of fertility programs for the injured patients.
Clinical trials and extensive research are also undertaken in the pursuit of advanced drug therapy. In addition, some progress has been made in repairing spinal cord structures through tissue transplantation.
In acute phases of spinal cord injury, drug therapy trials focus on the development of pharmaceutical regimens to prevent secondary injury and promote structural regeneration in SCI patients.
In chronic cases, however, research focuses on cellular therapy with special attention given to Schwann cells, olfactory ensheathing glia, stem cells, and embryonic spinal cord development in order to treat cord injuries more effectively. The integrated use of both drug and transplantation technology has the highest therapeutic effect.
Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about your specific symptoms and condition.