Can a Spinal Cord Injury Heal?

Spinal cord damage cannot be completely cured mainly because the spinal cord, unlike other body parts, cannot repair itself. However, there are different treatments that can reduce the pain, prevent further injury, and enable people with spinal cord injury to return to an active life.

Although there is no way to reverse damage to the spinal cord, researchers are continually working on new treatments, that may promote nerve cell regeneration or improve the function of the nerves that remain after a spinal cord injury.

Paraplegia means losing control of movement and sensation from the waist down. So, people with paraplegia can fully use their hands and arms. In the US, it is estimated that approximately 46% of individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury have paraplegia. Paraplegia is most often the result of traumatic injury to the spinal cord or of a congenital condition such as spina bifida, which affects the neural elements of the spinal canal. The area of the spinal cord that is affected in case of paraplegia is either the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral region.

Tetraplegia refers to paralysis from the shoulders down (therefore affecting also the upper body, arms, and hands). In case all four limbs are affected by paralysis, you are suffering from tetraplegia.

Currently, spinal cord injury treatment focuses on preventing further injury and empowering people with a spinal cord injury to return to an active and productive life. Unfortunately, the methods for reducing the impact of the injury and for restoring all body functions are still quite limited. For severe spinal cord injury, immediate treatment includes:

  • Techniques to diminish cord compression.
  • Prompt (in the first 8 hours after the incident) drug therapy to minimize cell damage.
  • Stabilization of the vertebrae to limit further injuries.

Some spinal cord injury treatments include:

  • Medications. For example, intravenous (IV) methylprednisolone: A-Methapred or Solu-Medrol.
  • Immobilization. To bring the spine into proper alignment, doctors may use a rigid neck collar as well as a therapy bed which helps immobilize your body.
  • Surgery. This procedure is necessary to remove fragments of bones, foreign objects, herniated disks or fractured vertebrae and to stabilize the spine to prevent future pain or deformity.
  • Experimental treatments.

In the emergency room and early stages of treatment, doctors focus on:

  • Maintaining your ability to breathe
  • Preventing shock
  • Immobilizing your neck to prevent further spinal cord damage
  • Avoiding possible complications (stool or urine retention, respiratory or cardiovascular difficulty, the formation of deep vein blood clots in the extremities, etc.)

Rehabilitation team members will begin to work with you while you're in the early stages of recovery. You will be educated on the effects of your spinal cord injury and how to prevent complications, and you will be given advice on rebuilding your life and increasing your quality of life.

If you suffer from paralysis due to someone else's negligence call our Miami based office today. We can help you obtain just compensation.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.