spinal cord injury management, as well as the benefits associated with it and the expected results. Read our comprehensive guide to learn more!”>
What is Spinal Cord Injury Management?
Spinal cord injury management is the comprehensive care of those with traumatic or degenerative spinal cord injuries. It’s a multi-disciplinary approach that involves medical specialists, rehabilitation professionals, support personnel, and other healthcare providers. The goal of spinal cord injury management is to achieve the best outcome possible for the patient and empower them to lead a happy, independent life.
Spinal cord injury management is a science-driven, comprehensive approach to managing life after a spinal cord injury. It encompasses all areas of daily care including medical, rehab, and psychological support. The goal is to address physical, cognitive, and emotional issues associated with such an injury.
The therapeutic techniques used in spinal cord injury management are highly individualized and depend upon the specific type and severity of the injury. Treatment typically consists of a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychological counseling as well as the use of adaptive technology.
The benefits of an effective spinal cord injury management plan are numerous. Studies have shown that personalized plans help to improve the patient’s quality of life, increase their functionality, provide greater independence in their daily activities, and restore their physical and cognitive abilities.
Physical benefits of spinal cord injury management include improved movement, greater balance, and increased strength in affected areas. Therapeutic exercises can help to improve flexibility, coordination, circulation, and muscle tone. Well-structured plans can also minimize the risk of the injury becoming worse over time.
In addition to physical benefits, a spinal cord injury management plan can help to improve cognitive abilities such as memory, attention span, problem-solving, and multitasking. Depending on the severity and type of injury, rehabilitation activities can help to slow or even reverse the effects of neurodegenerative diseases like spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Finally, a well-structured spinal cord injury management plan can also provide substantial emotional benefits. The focus is on the individual and their needs, empowering them to take control of their own health and manage their own recovery. Counseling and psychological support can also help manage emotions such as depression, frustration, and anxiety which are common among those with spinal cord injuries.
The results of spinal cord injury management vary depending on the severity and type of injury. Research suggests that individuals who receive comprehensive care, including medical, rehabilitative, and psychosocial support services, tend to experience the best outcomes.
In terms of physical results, many patients can expect improved mobility and balance as well as a reduced risk of developing additional complications like joint contractures, fractures, or skin problems. In some cases, individuals may even experience some level of regeneration and recovery of movement or sensation.
Cognitively, many patients can expect improved memory, concentration, problem-solving skills, and communication ability. Cognitive rehabilitation activities such as cognitive stimulation and sensory integration can help to rebuild neural pathways in the brain and increase the speed at which information is processed.
Finally, many patients can also experience enhanced emotional wellbeing as a result of a successful spinal cord injury management plan. Emotional support, counseling, and psychological interventions can help individuals to identify and manage their emotions in a healthier way.
Spinal cord injury management is a science-driven, comprehensive approach to managing the long-term effects of spinal injuries. It focuses on addressing physical, cognitive, and emotional issues associated with an injury and it can offer substantial benefits. By creating personalized rehabilitation plans, patients can expect improved mobility, cognitive abilities, and emotional wellbeing.
Definition & Overview
Patients suffering from a spinal cord injury are provided with a full treatment, management, and rehabilitation plan designed not only to treat the injury but also to manage its long-term effects. Spinal cord injury management is extremely crucial, as this type of injury can lead to devastating effects, such as partial or complete paralysis.
Due to various medical advancements, spinal cord injuries are now managed more efficiently and are no longer as fatal as they once were. However, permanent effects can still occur.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
Spinal cord injury management is provided to patients suffering from injuries that involve any part of the spine, including the vertebrae, ligaments, discs, and the spinal cord. The management plan is suggested regardless if the injury is brought about by traumatic or non-traumatic causes.
Traumatic causes are those that occur as a result of an accidental blow to the back, causing a severe wound (such as a gunshot or deep knife wound), fracture, dislocation, or compression in any part of the spinal cord. These are often followed by bleeding, inflammation, and fluid retention around the spinal cord. Common traumatic causes of spinal cord injuries include falls, motor vehicular accidents, sports injuries, and acts of violence. Statistics show that as many as 1 out of 4 falls that lead to such injuries are related to alcohol use.
Non-traumatic causes, on the other hand, are those that occur due to diseases, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer. They can also occur due to infection, inflammation, or degeneration.
Based on studies, spinal cord injuries are more common among men, active individuals between the ages 16 and 30, elderly individuals over the age of 65 (due to disease and falls), and those who engage in extreme activities.
The goal of the management plan is to treat the injury, stabilise the patient’s condition, facilitate recovery, and help the patient deal with any long-term effects of the injury.
How is the Procedure Performed?
- Emergency trauma care (for trauma-related cases)
- Physical and occupational therapy
For trauma-related cases, spinal cord injury management begins with emergency trauma care. This involves several steps, including:
Stabilising patients’ breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure Placing the patient on a stiff board and placing a special neck brace to prevent movement Placing the patient under examination, which may include the use of CAT and MRI scans to determine the extent of the injury Assisting the patient’s breathing in case the injury affects the chest area and causes respiratory problems. This step may involve intubation.
Medications used in managing spinal cord injuries include methylprednisolone (Medrol), a powerful corticosteroid that helps promote the patient’s recovery. The drug can help reduce nerve damage and is seen to be very effective in reducing inflammation around the injury site. It is most effective when administered within eight hours after the injury occurred. However, the drug is linked to some serious side effects, so it is only used if the benefits outweigh the risks.
As part of a spinal cord injury management plan, the goals of surgery are to:
- Remove foreign objects
- Remove broken or crushed bone fragments
- Relieve compression in the spine through a decompressive surgery
- Help restore movement and function to certain body parts; one example is a tendon transfer surgery that can restore control and movement to the arms and hands
- Manage bladder control and function
- Manage any complications, such as blood clots and breathing problems
Physical and occupational therapy
Physical therapy is a major part of spinal cord injury management. Its goal is to help relieve residual pain caused by the injury and surgery and to rehabilitate the patient. This involves helping patients to regain control of their arms and legs and to prevent muscle atrophy.
Depending on the need and extent of injury and surgery, the rehabilitation process may involve an occupational therapist, a rehabilitation psychologist, and a recreation therapist.
In the case of disability or paralysis, patients can opt to use computer-operated devices and voice-operated computers to help them manage certain tasks despite the effects of their spinal cord injury.
Possible Risks and Complications
During the recovery and rehabilitation stage, patients are at risk of:
- Neurologic deterioration
- Pressure sores due to lack of movement
- Aspiration and pulmonary complications
- Muscle atrophy
- Severe sepsis
Ahn H., Singh J., Nathens A., et al. “Pre-hospital care management of a potential spinal cord injured patient: A systematic review of the literature and evidence-based guidelines.” J Neurotrauma. 2011 Aug; 28(8): 1341-1361. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143405/
Bonner S., Smith C. “Initial management of acute spinal cord injury.” Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Advance Access. July 12, 2013. http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/07/11/bjaceaccp.mkt021