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Can People Ever Recover From A Spinal Cord Injury?

Can People Ever Recover From A Spinal Cord Injury?
Christian J. Amendt

People take for granted that motor vehicle travel is simply a part of their daily life. People rarely stop to think about the risk involved in moving around at such high speeds. Unfortunately, some people have to deal with long-term medical consequences because of our society’s reliance on motor vehicle transportation.

Every day, individuals around the country die in crashes. Many more will suffer significant injuries that may impact their quality of life and earning potential. Among those potential injuries in a car wreck, there is little question that spinal injuries are one of the worst potential injuries someone can suffer.

If you or someone you love has recently experienced a spinal cord injury in a collision, you may wonder if it is possible for someone to recover after a spinal cord injury.

Location and severity of the injury impact the prognosis

The spinal cord is an electrical conduit that connects the brain with the rest of the body. In circumstances where the spinal cord suffers an injury, it may not be possible for the brain to communicate with the body below the site of the injury. Therefore, the higher on the spine the spinal cord injury occurs, the more severe its consequences for the victim.

However, location alone doesn’t dictate the impact that a spinal cord injury will have on someone’s life. The severity of the injury and whether or not it severed the spinal cord also matters. Complete spinal cord injuries involve the spinal cord getting totally cut.

In incomplete spinal cord injuries, the spinal cord may suffer a nick, cut or pinch that causes significant symptoms. In some cases, people with incomplete spinal cord injuries can recover some or all of the lost sensation and motor function below the injury site, often after significant medical intervention and immobilization of the spine.

How do medical professionals treat a spinal cord injury?

Both those with complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries will likely need ongoing care. Physical therapy can help those with incomplete spinal cord injuries to recover some mobility and strength, while it can help those with complete injuries avoid atrophy and painful side effects.

Surgery and even experimental procedures can offer hope for those with incomplete spinal cord injuries. For those with complete spinal cord injuries, their care will likely involve therapy to help them adjust to their new condition, pain management as necessary and accommodations that will make living at home and returning to work easier.

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