Spinal Cord Injury Treatment and Medications

Spine Injury, Spinal InjuryFrom doctors, lawyers, to outright dummies, this paper should be able to easily help you understand everything you need to know about medications prescribed for bad back injuries. Currently, spinal cord damage cannot be reversed, though there is continuous research to find advanced ways of treatment for this type of injury. Research has determined medications and prostheses that may help in regenerating nerve cells or improving nerve functions in spinal cord injury patients. Current methods of treating spinal cord injuries centers on prevention of further damage, and to provide rehabilitation to enable the individual to lead a active life.

Emergency Treatment

Immediate medical attention is crucial to decrease the damage that may be caused by a traumatic head, neck or spinal cord injury beginning at the scene of the accident. Emergency medical technicians generally immobilize any individual suspected of having a traumatic neck or spinal cord injury using a neck collar and a rigid board to carry the patient in transport to the hospital reducing any possible further damage.

Beginning Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

The first initial treatment for a spinal cord injury victim will be in the hospital emergency room where the attending physician will determine:

  • Immobilizing the neck in order to prevent any further spinal cord damage from occurring.
  • Prevent shock.
  • The ability to breathe properly and maintain breathing.
  • Check for respiration difficulties.
  • Check Cardiovascular issues.
  • Circumvent any complications with urine or stool retention.
  • Prevent issues with deep vein blood clots in limbs

During the evaluation testing the individual who has suffered this type of harm may be sedated to prevent further damage from occurring in spinal cord injuries.

Hospitalization

Individuals with spinal cord injuries are generally admitted into the hospital in the intensive care unit for medical treatment and close supervision. In some cases the patient may be transferred to a spine injury center where they can be treated by a team of experienced spinal cord injury neurosurgeons, spinal cord medical specialists and orthopedic surgeons will provide care along with psychologists, therapists and nurses specializing in this area of medicine. This team may also include a social worker specializing in spine injury.

Treatment

There are treatments that are commonly used in treating the spinal cord injury victim including:

  • Surgery: In some cases surgery may be required to remove bone fragments, fracture vertebrae if they are compressing the spine, herniated disks and foreign objects. The other reason surgery may be required is to stabilize the spine in cases where it could cause deformity or to prevent future pain.
  • Immobilization: The spinal cord injury victim may be immobilized using traction to stabilize the spine or to bring the spine into alignment. A rigid collar may be used or a special type of bed used to immobilize the body. When traction is used it may include metal braces that are attached to weights or a body harness which will also keep the patients head from moving.
  • Medication: There are drug options that are commonly used for spinal cord injury victims and one of the common ones for acute spinal cord injury is Methylprednisolone referred to as Medrol. This medication when given to a spine injury patient within eight hours some has shown mild improvement. While it is not a cure for spinal cord injury it can reduce the damage to nerve cells and reduce inflammation near the damaged region.
  • Experimental Treatment: Scientists and researchers continue their search in ways to treat spinal cord injury and stop the nerve cell damage and inflammation, while finding ways to promote nerve regeneration. In some cases there may be treatments available that are experimental treatments or studies being conducted the medical specialists might know about that would be an option.

Ongoing Medical Care in Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury victims will require ongoing medical care after the initial hospitalization to prevent secondary problems and treat disease. The length of the hospital stay will depend on certain factors, such as the extent of the damage, the patient’s condition and any other medical issues. The individual may require treatment for respiratory infections, blood clots, bladder infections, bowel issues, muscle contractures, deconditioning, and pressure ulcers. When the patient is healthy enough then they can be transferred to a rehabilitation facility, participate in therapy and other treatments. Ongoing medical treatment may include:

  • Medication: There may be medications prescribed for management of certain conditions in spinal cord injury patients. These can include medications for muscle spasticity, pain, bladder control, bowel control and for sexual function.

It may not be possible for the physician to provide a complete prognosis immediately, but generally recovery will occur between a week and six months after the injury. Though some patients experience improvements for a year or longer, which is usually small improvements.

Rehabilitation

Generally during the early part of the spinal cord victims recover a rehabilitation team will begin working with the patient and this may include an occupational therapist, physical therapist, psychologist, rehabilitation nurse, recreation therapist, physician specializing in spinal cord injury, social worker and dietitian.

In the beginning of rehabilitation in spinal cord injury the rehabilitation therapist will focus on maintenance and strengthening of accessible muscle function. They will work on redevelopment of find motor skills and work teaching techniques for the patient to be able to handle daily tasks. Focus will be placed on how complications may be avoided and how to increase the quality of life. The individual going through rehabilitation will learn new skills along with technology and other equipment that can help make life easier so the patient may be able to live on their own. They will work on a fitness plan and how to resume hobbies, activities, school and return to work.

Technology

There is always new technology and for spinal cord injury victim’s technology may help to make life easier or even more independent. Technology may make the patient more mobile or devices that may restore function.

  • Electronic Aids: Almost any electronic device can be control with an electronic aide to daily living (EADL), which means that electronic devices using the EADL may be turned on or off using computer based remotes or voice controlled commands.
  • Electronic Stimulation Device: This is a device that is complex and uses electronic stimulation to produce actions such as controlling the muscles in the arms or legs. This device is known as an functional electrical stimulation system (FES) and when used can give the spinal cord injury victim the ability to reach, grip, stand and walk.
  • Computer: Computers can be adapted to operate with key guards or voice recognition and can be a tool used for work, socialization or for other functions by the spinal cord injury victim that would otherwise be nearly impossible to use.
  • Robotic Gait: Robotic devices are in the latest technology and can be used in retraining spinal cord injury victims to walk.
  • Wheelchairs: The modern wheelchair is light weight and more comfortable, which helps to provide mobility to spinal cord patients. In some cases electronic wheelchairs are necessary and technology has made it possible for wheel chairs to climb stairs, have elected seating to make reaching possible without help and to travel over rough terrain.
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