Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Strategies
Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Strategies
It’s important to understand that professional rehabilitation for any injury, no matter how small, is important to speed the healing process and avoid possible complications. From a paper cut to something far more severe, it is critical to seek out expert help as soon as possible. In the case of spinal cord injury rehabilitation, this has never been truer.
Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, what are the causes
There are multiple causes of damage and injury of the spinal cord and the various nerves at the end of the spinal canal (caudal equina). In many cases, these injuries cause permanent damage and with it changes to sensation, bodily function below the injury, and strength. These injuries affect every aspect of e person’s life, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and socially.
Your overall ability to control your body depends on the severity of the injury and the location of the damage. Whether it was a complete injury (all sensory, and motor functions below the injury are lost) or if it’s an incomplete injury (you retain some motor functions and sensory functions) whichever the case, it is important to have a professional spinal cord injury rehabilitation program in place to help you cope not only physically but psychologically with it.
The main causes for Spinal Cord Injury are either a disease or a sudden traumatic blow. Damage to the spinal cord might actually occur days or even weeks after the act itself because of inflammation, fluid accumulation, bleeding and swelling.
Common causes of spinal cord injury include, but are not limited to:
- Motorcycle accidents.
- Car accidents.
- Sports injuries.
- Acts of violence.
The severity of your injury.
During spinal cord rehabilitation, your doctor and caregiver will diagnose the severity of your injury based on a universal language most spine specialists are accustomed to. They use a classification system for SCI (spinal Cord Injuries) to evaluate the grade and damage of a patient’s injury and their potential for improvement.
Your doctor, if he suspects a spinal cord injury, will conduct an exam called the International Standards For Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI).
The ISNCSCI is based on 3 scores:
- The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) motor score of muscle strength and movement.
- The ASIA sensory score.
- The ASIA Impairment scale.
Aside from undemanding if it was a complete or incomplete injury, your doctor will use this scale to assess your impairment based on a Grade range from A to E.
- Grade A: Complete sensory or motor functions lost below the injury.
- Grade B: sensation preserved below the injury but no motor functions.
- Grade C: Motor functions are preserved but muscles are not responding properly.
- Grade D: Motor function is preserved and muscles are recuperating.
- Grade E: normal motor function and normal sensations.
Strategies used in spinal cord rehabilitation programs.
There are numerous rehabilitation programs for spinal cord injuries each with its own personal take on how to help patients out. It’s important to note that some patients respond better to some programs and not others. What might have worked for your friend won’t necessarily work for you. This is not only on account of your injury and its damage but of your temperament and taste.
Strategies used in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Movement and Strength exercises
Through the employment of breathing techniques, strength training and stretching exercises caregivers have managed to really help people with spinal cord injuries. Most of these exercises have to be complemented with other strategies and actions but all spinal cord injuries rehabilitation programs have one form or another of this type of these drills.
Functional Electrical Stimulation
Also, known as FES is a treatment method in which small electrical impulses are delivered into specific muscle groups and nerves. These in turn trigger a desired response or function. FES also helps to block out pain signals and restore some bodily functions, primarily bowel and bladder control.
Epidural Electrical Stimulation
Epidural Electrical Stimulation of the spinal cords or EES is a method by which a continuous electrical current is applied to the lower part of the spinal cord, right underneath the injury. It is carried out by little chips implanted over the dura of the spinal cord. Combined with strength training, this sort of method helps improve quality of life, temperature regulation, bladder control, movement of lower extremities, and enhances sexual functions.
Dry needling is a procedure for spinal cord injury. It is one of the many methods available at a spinal cord rehabilitation program. A fiend needle or acupuncture needle is inserted into the muscle and skin it is aimed at a certain trigger point meant to elicit a motor response.
Although not a method meant to help you get better, exoskeletons, like ReWalk, provide powered hips and knee motions to people suffering from spinal cord injury. ReWalk was the first of its kind to get FDA clearance. They help people stand upright, walk, turn and even climb and descend stairs.
A professional rehabilitation center for spinal cord injury is the first line of attack against a laceration or a trauma of this kind. They are instrumental not only in helping you decide on a course of action to take but fundamental in your overall approach to the shock. Remember, a spinal cord injury not only affects you physically but mentally, emotionally, and socially, it is important to have a support group that gives you a rounded approach to your rehabilitation, one that takes into consideration all aspects of the damage.
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