Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Understanding Spinal Cord Injury
A Spinal Cord Injury occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord either from trauma, loss of blood supply, or compression from a tumor or infection. It can cause weakness, complete loss of muscle function and sensation in the body below the level of injury, a lack of control of the bowels and bladder, and the absence of normal sexual function.
Types and levels of Spinal Cord Injury
Depending on the severity of the injury, there are two types of Spinal Cord Injury:
- Complete Injury: Patients with a complete Spinal Cord Injury experience complete paralysis below the level of their injury. They also experience symptoms like a lack of sensation and the inability to feel temperature, pressure, or pain of any kind.
- Incomplete Injury: Patients with an incomplete Spinal Cord Injury will experience partial paralysis and loss of sensation as the injury to the spinal cord is less severe. They will also depict symptoms like the loss of mobility in one or more limbs (depending on the part of the injury), spasticity, neuropathic pain, sexual dysfunction, muscle wasting, and bladder or bowel disorders.
Depending on which section of the spinal cord was injured, there are four levels of Spinal Cord Injury.
- Cervical Spinal Cord Injury: This is the most severe type of Spinal Cord Injury. It can lead to partial or complete loss of function, along with associated medical complications. It can also turn out to be fatal.
- Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury: It affects the upper chest, abdominal muscles, mid-back area, and can lead to loss of sensation in the legs and genitals, incontinence, and lower back pain.
- Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury: It affects the hips and legs and can lead to varying degrees of loss of function in the lower body.
- Sacral Spinal Cord Injury: This is a rare type of Spinal Cord Injury that affects the upper thighs, hips, buttocks, and genital area due to direct injury to the sacral region. Patients will experience some loss of function in the legs and hips but can learn how to walk with physiotherapy.
Objectives of Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Every Spinal Cord Injury is unique, and hence, a personalized approach that targets each individual’s specific weaknesses is essential. The success of rehabilitation depends on many variables, including:
- Level and severity of the injury
- Type and degree of resulting impairments and disabilities
- Overall health of the patient
- Family support
However, the primary goals of Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life — physically, emotionally, and socially. Highly customized rehabilitation program help patients develop and improve:
- Self-care skills: Activities of daily living such as feeding, grooming, bathing, dressing, toileting, and sexual functioning
- Physical care: Support of heart and lung function, nutritional needs, and skin care
- Mobility: Walking, transferring, and self-propelling a wheelchair
- Respiratory care: Ventilator care if needed, including breathing treatment and exercises to promote lung function
- Communication skills: Speech, writing, and alternative methods of communication
- Socialization skills: Interacting with others at home and within the community
- Vocational training: Specific work-related skills
- Pain and muscle spasticity management: Medication and alternative methods of managing pain and spasticity
- Psychological counseling: Identifying problems and solutions for thought process, and behavioral or emotional issues
- Family support: Assistance with adapting to lifestyle changes, financial concerns, and discharge planning
- Education: Patient and family education and training about Spinal Cord Injury, home care needs, and adaptive techniques
Several rehabilitative treatments that can help Spinal Cord Injury patients promote neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself. This helps them minimize complications and promote functional independence as much as possible. A well-designed Spinal Cord Injury acute rehabilitation program would include the following:
Physical therapy is the foundation of Spinal Cord Injury functional rehabilitation. It focuses on improving mobility through targeted exercises. A physical therapist will evaluate your functional ability and create a personalized exercise regimen designed to maximize range of motion, strengthen the muscles, and improve movement patterns.
Occupational therapy teaches individuals how to regain their independence by practicing activities to improve standards of daily living such as feeding, bathing, and grooming. It can also involve learning how to use adaptive tools to compensate for limited mobility.
In case of any respiratory complications, patients with Spinal Cord Injury need to work with speech therapists to improve breath support, increase cough strength, and manage secretions.
Why choose Plexus?
Plexus is an award-winning neurological and stem cell research center that is recognized globally for excellent patient care, swift diagnosis, and comprehensive therapies. Founded by Dr Na’eem Sadiq, an expert in treating neurological disorders, it is one of the best Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation centers in India. Along with advanced Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cell Nutritive Therapy, and various oral and intravenous medications, we provide a holistic Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation program consisting of:
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Programs at Plexus
Varying complete and incomplete Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation techniques are used as a part of our rehabilitation program at Plexus to help with physical conditioning (such as strengthening muscles and relearning how to do basic tasks). Apart from this, these techniques also address the mental and emotional component, which helps patients come to terms with the extent of spinal damage, loss of independence, and financial impact. These activities include the following:
- Standing balance training
- Trunk control and strengthening training
- Gait training
- Activities of daily living training
- Spasticity and Orthostatic Hypotension management
- Mobility training
- Transitional patterns training
Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Specialists at Plexus
Dr Na’eem Sadiq is a highly regarded stem cell specialist at Plexus — the leading centre for Spinal Cord Injuries management and rehabilitation. He studied neurology and clinical neurophysiology in London and has worked with some of the most prestigious medical institutions in England and the Middle East. He pursued his MBBS from Bellary Government Medical College and his post-graduation in psychiatry from NIMHANS, Bangalore.
Dr Na’eem has been expanding his knowledge and expertise through Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses and training sessions on Tissue Culture, Stem Cell Therapy, and Neurology. Several of his papers on treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Migraine, and Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, have been recognized and published internationally.
Dr Na’eem possesses an undying passion for improving the lives of people. This has led to the foundation of Plexus — a neuro and stem cell center that specializes in neuro-medicine, neurosurgery, and neuro-rehabilitation. Its mission is to help individuals with neurological impairments such as Spinal Cord Injury to overcome their disorder within the shortest possible time. Hence, it offers expertise, sophisticated technology, and the best rehabilitation of Spinal Cord Injury patients in Bangalore and Hyderabad at an affordable cost.
Look at what our patients and their families have to say about the various treatments and therapies provided at Plexus, one of the best rehabilitation hospitals for Spinal Cord Injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is rehabilitation for Spinal Cord Injury?
The best chance for recovery is through following Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation guidelines and receiving prompt treatment. The majority of recovery occurs within the first six months after injury.
Can you fully recover from a Spinal Cord Injury?
Most people regain some of their functionality with proper treatment and rehabilitation after Spinal Cord Injury. However, only a small fraction of individuals recover all their functionality.
Does a Spinal Cord Injury shorten your lifespan?
The life expectancy of individuals with Spinal Cord Injury depends on the severity of the condition, the affected area of the spinal cord, and the age of the individual.
How long does it take to walk after a Spinal Cord Injury?
It depends on the condition of the patient and their ability to heal after the Spinal Cord Injury. While some individuals may take a few weeks to regain the ability to walk, others may take several months or longer.
Can you walk after a Spinal Cord Injury?
With the help of recent advances in Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation, swift diagnosis, and proper rehabilitation and treatment, patients can regain the ability to walk after a Spinal Cord Injury.
What is the role of physiotherapists in Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation?
Patients who have suffered a Spinal Cord Injury should commence physiotherapy at any of the Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation centers, as soon as possible. The physiotherapist will work with you to understand your needs and abilities, and help you gain as much mobility and independence as possible.
What are the levels of Spinal Cord Injury?
Depending on the severity of the injury, there are two types of Spinal Cord Injury:
- Complete Injury
- Incomplete Injury
In which aspects can rehabilitation medicine help the patients with Spinal Cord Injury?
Rehabilitation medicine can help patients with Spinal Cord Injury to a certain extent for managing their condition. However, they need proper treatment and Spinal Cord Injury outpatient rehabilitation therapy to recover as much as possible.
Which manual techniques are most effective in patients with Spinal Cord Injury?
- Muscle stretching
- Joint manipulation
- Neurodynamic exercises
What is the difference between complete and incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?
The three types of Cerebral Palsy include:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
The difference between complete and incomplete Spinal Cord Injury are as follows:
- Complete Injury: Patients with a complete Spinal Cord Injury experience complete paralysis below the level of their injury. They also display symptoms like a lack of sensation and the inability to feel temperature, pressure, or pain of any kind.
- Incomplete Injury: Patients with an incomplete Spinal Cord Injury will experience partial paralysis and loss of sensation as the injury to the spinal cord is less severe. They will also have symptoms like loss of mobility in one or more limbs (depending on which part of the spinal cord was injured), spasticity, neuropathic pain, sexual dysfunction, muscle wasting, and bladder/bowel disorders.
What happens if your spinal cord is damaged?
A damage or injury to the spinal cord can cause weakness or complete loss of muscle function and loss of sensation in the body below the level of injury, loss of control of the bowels and bladder, and loss of normal sexual function.