Suffering from a spinal cord injury can be one of the most testing, upsetting and tumultuous times in anyone’s life. The psychological pain and strife can be conquered, even if it seems impossible at the time.
While damage to the spinal cord has the potential to result in an irrevocable change of lifestyle for the individual in question, the methods and techniques used to support those who need the additional care have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years.
Even though there is no way to repair a damaged spinal cord just yet, medical science is constantly developing a brighter future for global humanity through research and technological development. Just because there is no treatment now, this does not mean to say that there never will be.
In many cases, the road to successful rehabilitation is a journey that lasts an entire lifetime and one that needs to be embarked on to ensure the quality of a patient’s life and general wellbeing.
Learning to adapt and overcome is difficult, and if a spinal cord injury has resulted in the loss of some or all of your movement, you may expect to feel despair and dismay in the initial part of the recovery process. Still, it is possible to beat, and many people do on a regular basis.
If you have recently suffered from a spinal cord injury or want to support someone who has by learning more about the types of treatment available, you might want to look at a few of these points.
Stem Cell Therapy
Healthcare is always looking toward the future, and the stem cell research that sits at the cutting-edge of medical science is a good indicator of how far it has come and possibly, how far it has yet to go.
Stem cell therapy can be used to treat many different types of spine injury. By injecting stem cells into the injured patient, healthcare specialists can hopefully reduce swelling, decrease recovery time and minimize the need for invasive procedures.
Living with the chronic pain that a spine injury can so often cause can have an incredibly powerful and harmful effect on life in general.
Taking steps to eliminate this pain at the source through stem cell therapy can be a good way to increase overall physical comfort.
Many of the most painful injuries can be confronted and treated with this advanced method of spinal cord injury treatment, such as herniated discs and osteoarthrosis.
If you are unsure as to whether or not you might be in need of spinal column treatment, then do not wait around to find out, as this could end up having some dire and more permanent consequences in the future.
In this regard, seeking medical attention sooner rather than later should be among your top priorities.
The effectiveness and relevance of physiotherapy will likely vary dramatically depending on the level of the injury.
Its main goal is to return your independence and your freedom of movement to you through exercise and close support.
Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is highly effective if the right type of treatment is chosen. No matter your personal situation, there will probably be an avenue for you to explore.
Some of the fundamental aspects included in most physiotherapy include:
- Muscle Stretching – This helps to ensure that your muscles remain healthy and strong and that you get used to using them again. Failing to engage your muscles will likely result in them wasting away and becoming extremely weak, and this may result in further damage to your spine.
- Balancing – An injury as severe as a spinal one can have you out of the action for a long time. This may result in a lack of balance or a loss of comfortability in using your own body. Physical therapy is often used to help with balance and return confidence to people in this area.
- Massage Therapy – For medical professionals to aid with the reduction of pain throughout the recovery process, massage therapy can be used. An ancient and enduring form of treatment, a massage can reduce swelling and help loosen up your muscles and joints, hopefully resulting in a diminished level of pain.
There are countless techniques and exercises employed by physiotherapists all over the world, but the one that works best for any situation will be a combination of methods customized to fit the individual’s every need.
This can also enable you to better cope with the psychological trauma of facing a spine injury. Learning how to regain your freedom and independence is a big step in a positive direction. Once you know how to do the exercises by yourself, the agency is once again back in your hands, allowing you to take an active approach to your recovery process.
In many cases, a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury can greatly impair your ability to breathe. This is not only an alarming and upsetting factor, but it can hurt your overall quality of life too, which is why respiratory management can be so intrinsic to the treatment process.
There are ventilation exercises that can be done to aid with breathing should you have any difficulties. There are also plenty of non-invasive ventilation machines that can be utilized.
Again, the level of treatment needed will depend on the nature of the injury itself. In some cases, constant around-the-clock surveillance and support might be necessary to ensure safety.
Collars and Braces
Damaged spinal cords need a great deal of support if they are to resist further, avoidable harm.
Collars and neck braces can allow patients to support their entire skeleton, an entirely normal part of life that most people do not need to think twice about. Suffering a spinal injury makes this basic physical requirement very difficult, which is why equipment needs to come into play from time to time.
Back bracing can allow muscle relief, taking the tension of the weakened skeleton and allowing for better weight distribution and stability.
It can be difficult for the recovery process to truly flourish if the spine is not sufficiently supported. This is because it may be more susceptible to further damage if it has already been weakened from the injury and has not had ample time to heal.
Mental Health Care
Suffering from an injury that has the potential to change your entire life can be both physically and mentally devastating.
There is a wealth of uncomfortable feelings that you may need to face at some point, and these are feelings that may take a great deal of time to understand and overcome.
Mental health care such as therapy and counseling can be a great help in this area, and it is an aspect of the recovery process that should not be overlooked.
Some of the more difficult feelings you may need to address could include:
- Helplessness – If a spine injury has rendered parts of your body immobile, you may need to rely on others to help you get around in everyday life. This can lead to feelings of helplessness that can be hard to navigate around. Opening up and confronting those feelings can help you understand what being a patient is, where to look next and how to explain your inner thoughts and emotions to yourself. A loss of independence can be utterly devastating, but the recovery process is highly dynamic, and you will learn to confront emotions at a pace that suits you.
- Purposelessness – If your spinal injury has led to arm and leg damage, you may find that you are prevented from living your normal life and that you cannot enjoy the activities that you once loved. This may lead to a sense of purposelessness or perhaps even an existential crisis of sorts. In these moments, it is imperative to remind yourself that leading a meaningful life with your injury is perfectly achievable. Many people do this around the world daily.
- Depression and Anxiety – Feeling depressed and anxious after your accident, and quite possibly for a long time throughout the recovery process is not unusual. Learning to accept and deal with this through mental health care can aid you as you attempt to receive treatment and cope with what can no doubt be a life-altering event.
Whether your spinal injury has altered your life drastically or not, the recovery process needs to be taken seriously. Failing to take it seriously could leave your weakened skeleton open to new problems, and ultimately, you could end up unnecessarily prolonging your pain.
It is also important to remember that you are not alone, and trying to fight the physical and psychological battle all by yourself is a pointless endeavor when you can reach out and share your thoughts.
Whether you reach out to online communities of others who happen to be in your situation or your friends and family, everyone needs guidance and support sometimes.
If medical science and stem cell research continue to improve, new and improved treatment options should not be too far beyond the horizon.