About 250,000 to 500,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI) every year, globally. The majority of spinal cord injuries are caused by preventable causes like road traffic accidents while others arise due to disease.
If you have a spinal cord injury, you may experience loss of function around the body. The loss of function may be permanent but you can make a full recovery.
But spine rehab can be a frustrating process and the period of recovery will depend on the severity of your injury. Having qualified care from spine rehabilitation specialists can make the process much easier.
If you want to know more about SCI and spine rehabilitation, below is a comprehensive guide to help you.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spinal cord is very sensitive to injury. Unlike other parts of your body, it can’t repair itself after damage. You can either experience a complete or an incomplete spinal cord injury.
In an incomplete SCI, some functions will remain below the level of the injury. But for a complete SCI, you will experience a complete loss of sensation and muscle function in your body.
The Process of Spine Rehab
After surviving a spinal cord injury, you need the start rehabilitation. While the journey may be long and unpredictable, you need to choose the right spine rehab center to support you throughout the treatment. Here are some things you can expect during the spinal rehabilitation process.
Step 1: Diagnosis
The first stage of recovery occurs immediately after you suffer from a spinal cord injury. You will need to spend time in the hospital, usually in the critical care department.
The doctor will check to see if your airwaves are clear and your heart is beating normally. They may also test the movement and sensation in your arms and legs.
To examine the spinal injury further, they may also use medical imaging, like a CT scan or an MRI. The diagnosis will help determine if you need to undergo surgery. It also helps the spine specialist organize long-term care.
Step 2: Physical Therapy
Visiting a physical therapy clinic is an important part of spine rehabilitation. With the guidance of a physical therapist, this process can help you recover function, increase mobility, and stop complications that may arise after the initial traumatic injury.
Your physical therapy program after SCI may include stretching, strength training, respiratory conditioning, cardiovascular exercise, and mobility training. Your physiological therapy can be divided into 3 phases:
In this early phase post-injury, the main focus is to prevent any secondary complications of SCI like hypoventilation, secretion retention, and more.
You’ll also get passive pressure care to stop the formation of pressure ulcers. What’s more, you can get treatment to improve your range of movement in your joints and strength training for muscles.
Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Phase
This rehabilitation of the spine is comprehensive, patient-focused, and more goal-directed. It aims to maximize your independence and optimal reintegration back into your chosen community and lifestyle.
Apart from functional independence, it can help you improve your independence in daily activities like eating, grooming, and more. Your spine rehabilitation specialist may recommend you use devices like wheelchairs, spinal braces, and more.
If you have a spinal cord injury, you may face several, long-term restrictions in your ability to live independently. To ensure success, long-term physiotherapy management can help you achieve the high-level mobility goals required for community participation.
It also helps spine specialists monitor the recovery of function as well as reinforce the training of your family and caregivers.
Step 3: Psychological Recovery
Although SCI directly affects your motor control and sensation, you may also experience psychological effects. Since life after an SCI requires significant lifestyle changes, you may experience emotional distress.
This can affect your personality, motivations, and energy levels. You may feel a lack of control over your life which can lead to negative thinking.
This is why you need psychological recovery. The therapists will help you and your family adjusts to the changes that come with living with suffering from a spinal cord injury.
Using talk therapy, music therapy, and more, can help you manage your anxieties and depression while building your confidence and coping skills. These sessions can also help you pursue spine rehab and positively impact your recovery outcomes.
Step 4: Integrating Your Injury
After a spinal injury, you’re less likely to be fully recovered. Even if you make a physical recovery, you may still have to battle with the psychological scars.
This is why it’s important to integrate your injury into your life. It allows you to enjoy life despite living with the pain of SCI.
Benefits of Spine Rehab
Spinal rehabilitation serves several purposes after you get injured. Here’s how it can help you:
After spinal surgery, rehab and physical therapy can help prevent the onset of scar tissue that can limit mobility. Even if your SCI didn’t need surgery, spinal rehab can help increase flexibility in the recovering area.
Increases Functional Strength
Spinal rehab can strengthen the affected muscle groups to improve healing. Failing to have targeted physical therapy can reduce the chances of your injured spine getting back to full strength.
Improves Coordination and Balance
Spine injuries can sometimes affect your balance and coordination when you walk. Spinal injury rehab can help you relearn and adjust through activities like gait training.
During spine rehab, you’ll learn more about muscle movement. This way you can figure out how or why certain movements cause pain or relief. You’ll also understand posture awareness and how you can stress your back when sitting or standing.
Active rehabilitation can help you reduce pain from a spinal cord injury. Studies show that actions that strengthen the affected muscles and improve your mobility can help alleviate discomfort.
Comprehensive Physical Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury in Las Vegas, NV
Got a spinal injury? Looking for a physical therapy spine rehab?
Dynamic Spine & Sport Rehabilitation has got you covered. We implement a hands-on approach to treatment to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to get started.