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Spinal cord injuries can require long-term treatment and rehab

Victims of Louisiana car accidents and pedestrian accidents often face serious, life-changing injuries. Some of the most severe injuries involve the spinal cord. Once the spinal cord is damaged, there is no way to reverse the damage. As a result, many people end up paralyzed and have to work to regain at least some of their function and mobility.

Many forms of treatment and rehabilitation are available for those suffering from a spinal cord injury. Treatment often starts at the scene of the accident. Emergency professionals will try to immobilize the spine using a rigid neck collar and carrying board to get the victim to the hospital. Once there, the hospital will make sure that the person is still able to breathe, while preventing further damage by immobilizing the neck.

The next steps depend on the severity of the injury. Patients are often times prescribed a steroid medication within eight hours of the injury to reduce nerve damage and decrease inflammation. Surgery to remove fluid or tissue pressing on the spinal cord is also an option. Surgery may also be used to remove bone and disk fragments, place spinal braces or fuse broken bones. Traction is sometimes used to help align and stabilize the spine.

People with spinal cord injuries may also undergo rehabilitation, which involves physical therapy to help strengthen their muscles and improve mobility. They may also have to learn to use wheelchairs, leg braces and walkers. Many patients will have to re-learn fine motor skills and communication. Vocational therapy is also available to help patients go back to work after their accident.

While there is no cure for spinal cord damage, treatment and rehabilitation options continue to grow for spinal cord injury victims. However, these treatments can be expensive. Filing a claim against those responsible for an accident is one way to help recover damages to cover rehabilitation and other medical expenses.

Source: NIH, "What are the treatments for spinal cord injury (SCI)?," accessed on July 12, 2016

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