Simply put, the spinal cord acts as a postman, allowing the brain to communicate with various body components. If a postman becomes ill, the body components will not receive commands from the brain. Because of the spinal cord injury, the link between the brain and the rest of the body is disturbed.
Spinal cord injuries are uncommon, but they are so severe that 50% of patients die within the first year of injury. On the other hand, others who receive proper care and spinal cord injury treatment recover entirely and live a routine life.
Spinal cord damage affects a person’s mental health as well as physical health. Following such an injury, a person may lose partial or entire movement.
Other than body movement, spinal cord injury attracts many other health issues such as:
loss of sensation in limbs
problem with bladder control
difficulty in balancing
paralysis in any body part
problem with sexual functions and sensitivity
Spine VS Back injury
Some people believe that a spine injury is the same as a back injury, but they are not. Back injuries can harm the spine’s bones or soft tissues, but they have no effect on the spinal cord.
On the other hand, spinal cord injuries can be caused by damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or spinal column discs. In addition, the spinal cord itself could be damaged. A traumatic spinal injury can result from a sudden, jarring impact to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more of your vertebrae.
Main Reasons for Spinal Cord Injury
There can be many reasons for spinal injury. Some of them are as below:
Any vehicle accident
Fall from height
Injury during sports activity
Significant Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury
The symptoms of a spinal injury vary depending on the type and location of the damage. If you observe any of the following symptoms following an injury, get quick medical attention:
Weakness in one or both arms or legs.
Sensation loss in the arms or legs or both.
Inability to control one’s bladder or bowels.
Severe neck or back discomfort or pressure.
Strange bumps along the spine.
Diagnosis of Spinal Cord Injury
Before diagnosing spinal cord damage, the healthcare practitioner will conduct a series of tests to determine the leading cause of the condition. They may also examine the work and functions of your nerves by looking at your motor functions, which may include your ability to move various body parts.
In addition, the healthcare provider may perform several diagnostic tests to ensure the spinal cord condition. A CT scan is one of the most acceptable ways to screen for broken bones, blood clots, and blood vessel damage. MRI is another crucial test that can be used to determine the status of the spinal cord and soft tissues. Furthermore, an X-ray can be used to discover broken or dislocated bones.
Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury
Depending upon the condition and injury, the doctor may go for treatment.
Emergency spinal cord surgery may be required in the event of trauma to another part of the body. Surgery is also necessary to treat the damage caused by shattered bones, tissue injury, or blood clots.
In addition, many studies propose that corticosteroid injections be used to treat spinal cord injuries. It is, however, effective if the dose is administered to the patient within eight hours after the damage. The treatment has the potential to increase blood flow, retain nerve function, and reduce inflammation.
Long Term Treatment and Rehabilitation
Immobility may be a severe problem following a spinal cord injury. As a result, with long-term therapy and rehabilitation, the healthcare practitioner guarantees that the patient is improving and striving for independence in order to have a higher quality of life. Furthermore, the injury increases the chance of other chronic health issues; thus, they seek to lower the risk of existing and future chronic diseases through proper treatment and rehabilitation programs. Exercises can help recover some nerve function in cases of partial injury, which doctors and therapists attempt to prevent.
Artificial body parts, also known as neural prostheses, are a new treatment option for spinal injury. A neural prosthesis replaces lost nerve function in the same manner that an arm or leg prosthetic does for a lost limb. An electrical gadget connects to still-functioning nerves. These nerves control the prosthesis, allowing you to move immobile sections of your body.
Treatment and rehabilitation with VR
Taking a fresh and exciting approach to treatment helps keep you motivated in your rehabilitation program. You are more likely to stay motivated if your therapy is engaging and enjoyable. Virtual reality rehabilitation could be just what you need to get you to go to physical therapy. It is not only an excellent non-drug way of pain treatment, but it also helps to improve motor function. Furthermore, it is beneficial in alleviating the anxiety, fear, and sadness that a chronic sickness might produce.
As a result, Virtual Reality is an excellent therapeutic and rehabilitation tool.
A patient’s life is tremendously challenged by a spinal injury, both physically and mentally, and emotionally. However, good spinal cord injury treatment can help the patient’s future recovery and quality of life.