Living Again: What Kind of Recovery Is Expected After a Spinal Cord Injury

What Kind of Recovery Is Expected After a Spinal Cord Injury

An injury to the spine does not mean a life without joy. Spinal cord injury recovery helps you live again. Read this guide to what kind of recovery to expect.

According to The Miami Project, there are approximately 17,700 people who suffer from spinal cord injuries every year. While most cases involve males getting injured, anyone can be a part of an accident involving this type of injury.

Getting a spinal cord injury doesn’t have to be the end; there are ways to recover from the injury and go back to your normal life.

Spinal cord injury recovery can take place over a long period, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Here is what you can expect to happen during your recovery process.

What Does a Spinal Cord Injury Mean for the Patient?

Depending on the location and severity of the injury, damage to the spinal cord can have varying degrees of effects. The symptoms will also change depending on whether the spinal cord injury is a complete break or not.

The spinal cord is responsible for sending signals from the body to the brain; any break will cause what’s below the break to lose mobility. It may also cause less feeling in the extremities.

The further upon the body the break lies, the more likely the person is to suffer severe injury, up to and including death.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Most spinal cord injuries will occur nearer to the center of the spine and can be caused by a variety of incidents. Car crashes fall, or other accidents can cause a spinal cord injury.

If your injury was the fault of someone else, such as a car accident, gunshot, or another serious injury, you may want to consider hiring a spinal injury attorney for help with your case.

Spinal cord injuries can also be the result of serious infections and birth defects, though they are less common.

Spinal Cord Injury Effects on the Body

The severity of symptoms can vary depending on the injury. Though there are many common symptoms when it comes to spinal cord injuries:

  • Extreme back pain or pressure near the injury location and radiating up the spine and neck
  • Weakness/paralysis in certain parts of the body
  • Numbness/loss of feeling in certain parts of the body
  • Loss of control of your bladder/bowels
  • Impaired breathing
  • Difficulty walking or keeping balanced
  • Clear disfigurement in the back

If you suspect you may have suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s important to see a doctor immediately for help.

Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Routine: Stages of Recovery

While the effects of a spinal cord injury can be severe, there is a potential for recovery in some instances. A step by step process will occur to repair the spine and rehabilitate the patient.

Stage One: Potential Surgery/Stay in the Hospital

Immediately after the injury, the hospital staff will do its part to fix the injury to the best of their ability.

Steroid medications may be administered upon entry to the hospital to lower potential swelling in the spine; a computed tomography scan, or CTS, or an MRI scan may also be performed to locate the injury and figure out its severity.

Patient sensitivity will be the next thing to examine. The doctors will begin poking the patient with needles on various parts of the body to see if you have gained numbness anywhere, as well as to test your muscle strength. These tests will help the doctors know whether or not you may begin to regain feeling or strength in those damaged areas.

Emergency surgery may also prove necessary depending on the severity of the injury. Once you have been fully stabilized, the actual rehabilitation process will begin, the first steps still taking place within the hospital.

Most healing and recovery will occur within the first six months of rehabilitation. Any practices done during rehab are not only done to bring back your mobility and quality of life but also to get you prepared for independent life again after leaving the hospital. This may include various exercises, the use of a wheelchair, relearning how to control your bowels and bladder, and other routine practices.

Of course, you will need to revisit the hospital so that they can see your progress and run further tests, but after a while, you will once again be able to return home.

Stage Two: Rehabilitation Outside of the Hospital

Along with regularly scheduled hospital visits, your rehabilitation will need to continue while at home. Continuing with the various treatments and practices you’ve learned while at the hospital, you can continue on your way to full recovery and independence once more.

It will take time to adjust to the injury and learn how to live with your new disability, but with time, you will begin to handle your symptoms.

Stage Three: Long Term Treatment, Pain Management, and Recovery Practices

Should the injury be severe, or if the pain from the injury is too much to handle, there are certain medications and treatments that you can use to improve your quality of life.

Whether you end up needing further surgery, chiropractic visits, or medication to get yourself back on track, there are options for you.

You may find that your spinal cord injury has left you feeling depressed or hopeless; these feelings are common after a severe injury, and there is help. Reaching out to a counselor or therapist about your issues can help to relieve the pain you’re feeling emotionally and help bring you closure about the incident leading up to your injury.

Living with a spinal cord injury isn’t easy, but with proper care, you can continue about your daily life and get back to what you love.

Living With a Damaged Spinal Cord

Now that you understand the basics of the spinal cord injury recovery process, you are more prepared in a worst-case scenario.

How have you improved your life after a serious injury?

If you’re curious about other ways you can improve your wellbeing. Keep reading our blog for helpful tips and tricks to make yourself feel better!

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