Serious car accidents often have serious health consequences. Along with major head injuries, car accidents can also result in damage to the spinal cord. Severe spinal cord injuries cause lifelong effects, In some cases, victims may experience paralysis of all or some of their limbs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are specific actions taken to diagnose and treat spinal damage. This process is crucial to determine the extent of the damage and mitigate any further ill-effects.
How are spinal cord injuries diagnosed?
Emergency room doctors ask questions and perform physical examinations to evaluate injuries. They follow up this process with more extensive diagnostic testing. X-rays help doctors discover the presence of broke bones, while CT scans provide a comprehensive view of the spine and surrounding structures.
If swelling is a factor, doctors will wait until it subsides to perform other types of tests. For example, a neurological test is key in determining the scope and extent of your injuries.
What treatment options are available?
Treatments depend on how severe the spinal injury is. In the short-term, immobilization prevents further damage from occurring. Surgery is another possible options, which can stabilize the spine and remove bone fragments causing irritation to surrounding tissues.
Physical rehabilitation is also common after a spinal cord injury. Physical therapy strengthens weak muscles and improves range of motion, while occupational therapy teaches you how to perform basic tasks. You may also undergo psychological treatment, as spinal injuries also have mental and emotional effects.
Some people who experience spinal cord injuries are able to make a full recovery. Others will deal with lasting effects, including diminished mobility. Others still never recover their ability and must re-learn how to use assistive devices. The severity of these injuries illustrates the importance of safe, responsible driving.