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Physiotherapy and spinal injuries: The goals for recovery

Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete. With a complete injury, the nerves can't communicate with the brain any longer, and that means anywhere from the point of injury downward will be paralyzed. An incomplete injury is less severe but may result in weakness, some paralysis or pain. Chronic pain is not uncommon for those with incomplete injuries.

Physiotherapy is one helpful tool for individuals with spinal injuries. Physiotherapists treat many problems to do with paralysis and spinal cord injuries, from bladder issues to weakness in the legs or arms. Is this kind of therapy helpful, though?

Physiotherapists have a goal of making you more able with the functions you have. For instance, if you are wheelchair bound, they may focus on helping you learn to use your wheelchair, teaching you how to transfer in and out of the chair and strengthening your upper body.

Some patients may receive therapy on the lower body, although this doesn't mean that the patients will walk again. Physiotherapists can usually predict the outcome for the individual patient by around 45 days after the injury. At that point, the injury tends to be as bad as it will be and has recovered to a point of stability where an outcome can be predicted.

This kind of treatment may help, but it's unlikely to cure complete injuries. That's why it's important that you and your attorney work to get the compensation you'll need for medical care now and in the future. You want to continue working with your body, so you can reduce the risk of complications from your injury down the line.

Source: Journal of Physiotherapy, "Physiotherapy rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries," Lisa A. Harvey, accessed July 15, 2016

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