In the United States today, it is estimated that nearly 12,500 people experience spinal cord injuries each year. A whopping 80% of those cases are males and in the last 40 years, the average age of those experiencing spinal cord injuries has risen from 29 to 42. While automobile accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, falling, acts of violence and sports all contribute to these numbers.
For those who have experienced a spinal cord injury, a hospital stay is inevitable. However, the average length of the hospital stay has decreased from 24 days in the 1970’s to 11 days since 2010. The most frequent neurologic effect from a spinal cord injury is known as incomplete tetraplegia, which accounts for nearly 45% of injuries. These injuries are different for everyone, as is recovery time. There are several types of incomplete spinal injuries, which means that there has been partial damage to the spinal cord and some motor and sensory function remains. Those with incomplete spinal cord injury may have feeling but little or no movement, or vice versa.
Perhaps one of the most devastating injuries to endure, spinal cord injury requires immediate care and emphasis on rehabilitation is of the utmost importance. The traditional medical approach to treating spinal cord injuries rely on a team of medical professionals including physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, speech pathologists and social workers. Each of these professional bring an integral piece of the rehabilitation puzzle to the patient’s care and function under the direction of the physician.
Today, new research and studies are showing that the central nervous system is capable of learning , leading to improvements in techniques such as activity-based therapies to improve walking recovery. Advances in research are even showing promise that someday, spinal cord injuries will be repairable. While scientists continue experimenting with a variety of cell replacement and transplant for safe and effective treatment of spinal cord injury, studies have shown that recovery may continue for quite awhile after the initial injury due to the brain’s ability to regenerate new nerve connections and pathways. This ability, known as neuroplasticity, combined with active rehabilitation and exercise has been shown to improve function, muscle coordination and overall strength and health.
As with all injuries, it is imperative to find the best treatment plan and physician to meet your needs. Highly trained experts of the brain, spine and nervous system, Chiropractic Neurologists provide unique care and insight into spinal cord injury rehabilitation, sports injuries, chronic pain and many other neurological conditions, all without drugs or invasive techniques. As such, Chiropractic Neurologists fill a unique and much needed niche in the treatment of brain and nervous system disorders.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury, or would like to know more about how Chiropractic Neurology can help you, please contact Dr Marc Ellis at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology center today for a consultation.