Spine injury

Learn how a damaged spine is treated both immediately after injury and in the long term.

What is spine injury treatment?

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A injury is a serious injury so initial treatment is typically in a hospital, often in an accident and emergency department. This may involve helping the patient breathe while ensuring the neck remains immobile to prevent further injury, particularly to the spinal cord.

Once the severity of the damage is assessed, doctors can devise a treatment plan. This can include surgery to reduce pressure on the spinal cord or remove fragments of bone. There may also be a need to fit spinal braces or fuse any spinal bones that are broken.

Other treatments include traction to properly align the spine or steroid treatments. The latter reduces inflammation to the damaged area and reduces nerve cell damage.

Once this initial acute treatment phase is complete, doctors will move to a rehabilitation, management, and maintenance phase. This can include physical therapy as well as teach the patient pain management techniques and strategies to deal with stiffness. The patient may also need to learn other new techniques such as bowel and bladder management. Devices to assist with mobility are sometimes needed (such as wheelchairs or walkers) as well as devices to help with communication.

Other treatments may also be used to improve the quality of life of the patient. This includes helping the patient become more physically active through sports or improving their diet. Electrical stimulation treatments are also effective in some situations.

The aim of any injury spine cure plan is to:

  • Relieve pain
  • Prevent further injury
  • Repair the damage as much as possible
  • Restore as much physical mobility as possible
  • Help the patient improve their quality of life

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