Among the most frightening injuries to suffer is a spinal cord injury. From the first moments, such an injury can fill you will anxiety, uncertainty and fear of what your future may hold. Even if you do not suffer paralysis from a spinal cord injury, the damage can severely reduce your mobility and leave you with a lifetime of pain and struggle.
Whether your injury occurred as the result of a traffic accident, a slip-and-fall or a work-related injury, you likely have many questions and concerns as you move through the process of recovery toward whatever your new reality may look like.
Diagnosing your injury
To determine the extent of your injuries, emergency room doctors will make a preliminary diagnosis of spinal cord injury by using several kinds of tests, including X-rays, CT scan and MRI. Each of these tests produces a different view to allow doctors to more accurately estimate the location and severity of the injury. You may have to go through these tests numerous times as any swelling or bleeding around the spinal cord subsides.
Throughout most of this process, your medical team will be ensuring that your airways remain open and your neck is immobile. You will likely remain in intensive care, which provides around-the-clock attention, or you may be transferred to a Rhode Island hospital with more advanced facilities.
Your treatment and ongoing care
Confirmation of a spinal cord injury means you, your family and your medical team will begin to plan the next steps of your rehabilitation. Some of the changes you may face include the following:
- Medications to help your body function as well as possible while immobile
- Traction, neck brace or braces on your limbs, depending on how high on your spine the injury occurred
- Surgery to stabilize your spine and make other repairs
- Physical therapy to help you recovery any mobility you can
- A wheelchair, some of which have amazing capabilities to allow you to get around with little assistance
- Additional adaptations such as computers, voice-controlled devices, and developing robotics technology
You may also find it helpful to meet regularly with a psychologist or other counselor to help you cope with the overwhelming changes in your life. You can imagine how important these items will be in your future. You can also guess that they will not come cheaply.
If your spinal cord injury resulted from an accident that could have been prevented, you may be especially emotional about the future you are left to face. It will be wise to surround yourself with people who can offer you experienced assistance and guidance in gaining every advantage you need.
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