For people living with a traumatic spinal cord injury and those who love them, understanding the scope of the situation and knowing what to expect can be complicated. From understanding the care and treatment process to learning about research and trials, being armed with the right information can be empowering and essential.
What Happens Following a Spinal Cord Injury?
After an incident causing a traumatic spinal cord injury, the first step is to provide the patient with emergency medical treatment. Also referred to as acute care, this period reflects the time when tests and examinations are performed, medication is prescribed, and efforts are made to stabilize the patient and diagnose the extent of their injury.
Once a patient has received medical clearance, they are typically transferred to a rehabilitation facility where they can begin the process of learning how to adapt to life with a spinal cord injury. During rehab care, a patient will be seen by a team of specialists including physical therapists, psychologists, and occupational therapists in order to provide comprehensive care. At this point, there may also be a need to work with a personal injury lawyer, depending on the circumstances that led to the injury.
The goal of rehab care is to properly prepare an individual to return to their home armed with the tools and information they need to navigate their daily routines as independently as possible.
Can Spinal Cord Injuries Be Cured?
Given the complicated nature of spinal cord injuries, research towards finding a cure is ongoing. While paralysis is currently considered a permanent condition, researchers are optimistic that a cure is possible based on studies showing the regenerative capabilities of the spinal cord.
The definition of cure is broad and depends very much on the individual experience. For some, a cure may be defined as being able to return to activities or improvement on quality of life. Others consider a cure to be a complete absence of symptoms associated with the injury.
Looking Towards The Future
The future of spinal cord injury (SCI) research is constantly changing and extremely promising. There are numerous studies working towards expanding the body of knowledge related to SCI and developments are being made towards improving the quality of life for patients. From activity-based neural recovery programs to stem cell research, technology is moving at a rapid pace and industry experts remain hopeful as to what will come next.