During a motor vehicle accident, you may have sustained catastrophic injuries. Acute spinal cord injuries, for example, can change the course of your life. SCIs can cause permanent disability and are often life-threatening.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, vertebrae make up your spine and your spinal cord runs down through the center of the vertebrae. The cord carries messages from the brain to the rest of your body.
Symptoms of SCI
The symptoms associated with SCI vary dependent on the patient. After a spinal cord injury, your body may enter shock. You could lose feeling and muscle movement. As the swelling decreases, you may experience other symptoms. The higher the injury, the more severe it is. When you injure your first and second vertebrae, it affects your respiratory muscles. Lower injuries affect muscle control in the bladder, legs and bowel.
Incomplete injuries refer to injuries where you have some degree of feeling below your injury, whereas complete injuries are a loss of movement or sensation.
Treatment of SCI
Treating an SCI depends on the severity of your injury, your age, your medical history and how you respond to early treatment. Currently, you cannot regenerate your spinal cord. Physicians sometimes use surgery to assess the injuries and to stabilize any fractures.
Initial treatment might include observation in the ICU, medicine to decrease swelling and ventilation. To recover from an SCI, you may require long-term rehabilitation or hospitalization.
After an SCI, expect to work with a variety of other medical staff. You may contact a team of healthcare providers, therapists and specialists that can monitor organ function, body temperature and pain.