Spinal cord injuries often occur in motor vehicle accidents. They can also be due to explosions, falls from high heights, and defective products. Spinal cord injuries can cause partial or full paralysis, acute pain, and other severe injuries. Often, spinal cord injuries require a lifetime of care and a lifetime of physical and emotional pain. There are treatments that can help, even if they don’t provide a full-time cure. The treatments vary depending on how soon medical help is sought after the accident. As with most medical problems, early treatment is the best option.
Treatment at the scene of the accident can help minimize neck or head trauma. Emergency health providers try to immobilize the spine using a rigid neck collar and a using a rigid carrying board so the patient can be transported to the hospital.
In the emergency room, the doctors will work to prevent shock, help the patient breathe, and help avoid complications including heart and respiratory problems. Diagnostic tests will then be ordered. Some of the professionals who will work with patients suffering from spinal cord damage include neurosurgeons, spinal cord specialists, orthopedic surgeons, psychologists, therapists, nurses, and social workers.
Emergency treatments also include:
- Methylprednisolone given at the time of the ER treatment has been shown to help some patients with nerve damage.
- Traction and immobilization can help.
- Surgery. Surgery may be needed to remove or repair foreign objects, bone fragments, herniated disks, and fractured vertebrae. Surgery may also be needed to stabilize the spine.
In time, the medical focus shifts to preventing secondary problems that often affect spinal cord problems. These problems also include bowel and bladder problems, respiratory infections, pressure ulcers, and other medical concerns.
After the hospital stay, patients usually require extensive rehabilitation. Rehabilitation includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and care by a physiatrist. Rehabilitation focuses on strengthening muscles, relearning fine motor skills, and relearning daily tasks.
Patients with spinal cord injuries may require medications to help with pain, muscle movements, bladder control, bowel function, and sexual ability.
Some newer technologies include better wheelchairs including chairs to help people get up and down the stairs, computer software that can help with daily tasks, and voice-controlled electronic aids. New devices called electrical stimulation devices or functional electronic stimulation systems can help the patient control leg and arm muscles so patients can reach, grip, stand, and walk. Robotic devices are also helping patients with a spinal cord injury.
Some recovery can take six months or a year before results are seen.
Strong advocacy for spinal cord accident victims in Chicago
At Gainsberg Law, our Chicago spinal cord accident lawyers are dedicated to fighting for justice for injured victims. We understand how much physical and emotional help is needed long-term. For help and guidance, please call us at 312-600-9585 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.