What to Expect During Treatment for a Spinal Cord Injury

May 24, 2013

A spinal cord injury or trauma can be caused by a variety of events, one of the most common being motor vehicle accidents. These injuries require immediate attention from an Atlanta car accident injury doctor. The physician will likely complete a physical exam along with diagnostic imaging in order to determine the extent of the problem. Treatment options may vary depending on the type and scope of the injury.

First Stages of Treatment

When emergency personnel are called to the scene of an auto accident where they expect a spinal injury has taken place, they will work quickly to immobilize the spine. This is typically done using a carrying board and neck collar, and these items are used to transport the patient to the hospital to be evaluated by an Atlanta auto accident doctor. While in the ER, doctors will focus on:

  • Shock prevention
  • Preventing further damage to the spine through immobilization
  • Maintaining the individual’s ability to breathe
  • Avoiding potential complications like cardiovascular difficulty, blood clots, and urine or stool retention

Patients are usually sent to the intensive care unit while doctors choose between a potential treatment options, the most common of which include:

  • Surgery: This is typically necessary when bone fragments need to be removed or if fractured vertebrae or herniated disks are compressing onto the spine.
  • Medication: Medrol is typically prescribed for a spinal cord injury, and it reduces nerve cell damage and inflammation.
  • Immobilization: Traction may be needed to stabilize the spine and bring it back into proper alignment.
  • Experimental Treatment: Some treatments may be available to promote regeneration of nerves and control inflammation.
Ongoing Treatment

Ongoing treatment is also necessary to recover from a spinal cord injury. In many cases, rehabilitation will be used to strengthen and maintain existing muscle function. This type of therapy can also help to redevelop motor skills and learn techniques for accomplishing activities of daily living. New technologies may be utilized to help patients become more mobile and independent. In some cases, chiropractic care may also be appropriate to regain range of motion, and an Atlanta auto accident injury chiropractor should be consulted.


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