A spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that affects the transmission of nerve messages from the brain to parts of the body below the level of the injury. A spinal cord injury must be treated as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of further damage or, in some cases, death.
Arizona’s finest neurological care is available at Dignity Health, including spinal cord injury treatment in Arizona. Learn more about our comprehensive neurology services at each state-of-the-art location:
Call 9-1-1 in the case of a spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
Treatment of a spinal cord injury depends on where along the spinal cord the injury occurs, the cause of the injury, and whether the injury is complete (no nerve messages relayed to the body below the injury) or incomplete. Treatment should be performed as quickly as possible following the injury. However, the person should not be moved until emergency personnel arrive. Moving someone with a spinal cord injury could worsen the injury or cause more swelling along the spinal cord.
Once at the hospital, treatment may include:
- Traction to align the spinal cord
- Surgery to repair damage, remove bone and debris, or to fuse or insert support
- Medication such as steroids to reduce swelling and drugs to relieve pain and anxiety
- Insertion of a breathing tube (i)ntubation for mechanical ventilation to assist breathing
Considering Your Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Options
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to reverse nerve damage from a spinal cord injury. Following treatment to stabilize the spinal cord injury, you may need intensive neurological rehabilitation as your back heals or to help you adapt to the damage left by the injury. Rehabilitation could include:
- Physical therapy to help you regain strength and movement when possible
- Exercise therapy to strengthen your back and the rest of your body
- Occupational therapy to help you learn adaptive techniques and practice fine motor skills
- Adaptive equipment to help you with mobility, work tasks, and activities of daily living
Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
Most spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, gunshot wounds, and sports or recreational activities. You can reduce your risk of sustaining a spinal cord injury by taking precautions. Ways to protect yourself include wearing a seatbelt while in a moving vehicle, not diving into shallow water, and securing yourself in situations that could result in a fall, such as climbing a ladder.
Spinal cord injuries are life-changing events. However, with available treatments and the support of your family, friends, and health care team, you can cope with the challenges of your injury and work together toward recovery.
Dignity Health provides highly skilled spinal cord injury treatment in Arizona.