Prevention and treatment of spinal cord injuries at the scene and in follow up medical care can make a huge difference in the level of injury and the long-term effects on the victim. A spinal or neck injury can be especially serious as the trauma affects the entire lifestyle of the individual in question. Although there is no way to reverse a spinal cord injury once it has happened, there are ways to prevent smaller injuries from turning into bigger ones.
– On the Accident Scene
Immediate medical attention to potentially dangerous spinal impairment should include the immobilization of the spine as soon as possible. This is why it is always preferable to never move an individual who has been injured on the scene of an accident until medical professionals get there.
– When Medical Help Arrives
When medical help does arrive, they will try to maintain the victim’s ability to breathe while continuing to immobilize the spine and neck using various implements. They will also need to avoid other complications such as the retention of waste materials of the body and difficulty within the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. There is also a risk of deep blood clots within the hands and feet if the spine or the neck has been injured; medical professionals will take great pains to ensure that this does not occur.
– Sedation as a Form of Immobilization
In some cases, it may be best to sedate the victim so that there is no unconsciously appropriated twitch movement that may cause further impairment to the spine or to the neck. This is a normal practice for the initial diagnostic.
– The Emergency Room
If the initial diagnostic does find spinal or neck impairment, then the patient will usually be admitted immediately into the intensive care unit. Treatment will include a medical package as well as further immobilization and specialized treatments from the appropriate parties depending on the nature of the impairment. The specialists that can become involved in the treatment from this point may include psychologists, therapists, neurosurgeons, spinal cord medicine specialists, orthopedic surgeons, nurses and social workers with an expertise in spinal and neck injuries.
– Possible Surgery
There may be surgery involved if the spine has fractured and left pieces of bone floating around the body. A herniated disc may also be a cause for surgery in the case of spinal impairment. Fractured vertebrae are a more serious instance of a disc movement that must be immediately addressed in order to stop further impairment from occurring.
– Ongoing Care of Secondary Problems
Because the neck and the spine are both central to the functioning of the entire body, an injury to one or both of those areas may cause secondary problems that need to be addressed as well. For instance, muscle contractions around the spine can cause bladder and bowel issues, undue pressure on the ulcer, blood clots and respiratory infections.
Movement can be aided by various implements including wheelchairs, canes and even prosthetic limbs that can be attached directly to the spine. The modern wheelchair can also be programmed to respond quite naturally to the movements of the body.
Rehabilitation may include re-learning certain basic motor skills. It will also include an emotional component in order to counter some of the depression that may set in.
There are certain kinds of trauma that can cause immediate and irreconcilable damage to the spinal cord. They should be looked at immediately by a medical professional if they are incurred. Such injuries include, but are not limited to –
– Serious whiplash
– A fall on the neck or on the back
– Lifting heavy objects with the back
– Any actions that cause shooting pains up the back or into the neck
– Any actions that cause the neck to become immobilized