Every year, the USA sees at least 10,000 cases of spine trauma. Striking primarily men at the peak of their working lives, spine trauma accounts for a sizeable economic impact, both on affected families and on the general economy.
Motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, falls and high contact sports injuries are the most common sources of spine trauma. But it can also be occasioned by explosions, building collapses and other catastrophic events.
When spine trauma is suspected, it’s important that the injured person not be moved and remain immobile until emergency personnel arrives to safely convey the patient to a medical facility.
Spine trauma should be suspected if the patient is unconscious or appears to be disoriented, indicating a neurological event.
Symptoms and response.
In the event of physical trauma due to high impact, causing the patient to be rendered unconscious, disoriented, or experiencing extreme pain, spine trauma should be suspected until a careful examination by medical professionals can be accomplished.
Failure to follow protocols required by spine trauma can result in serious injury to the patient, causing permanent damage.
It’s therefore imperative that the patient’s spine me held stable against a firm surface and that immobilizing aids like neck bracing and strapping be employed by first responders.
Diagnosis and treatment.
Examination of the patient includes palpation and a visual check for contusions and edemas. Spasms in associated muscles will also be monitored. A neurological examination will be undertaken to gauge motor function, sensation and muscle reflexes.
Imaging diagnostics, like X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans will be conducted to ascertain the extent of trauma to the spine.
Several days following the traumatic event, when swelling has gone down, further testing will be conducted. This testing will more accurately gauge the quality of response to touch and other sensations.
Trauma to the spinal cord itself is not reversible, although advances are continually being made. Some of these advances are pharmaceutical and intended to promote the rejuvenation of damaged nerve cells and the restoration of function in intact nerves.
Current treatment focuses on improving quality of life for patients who’ve suffered spine trauma. There’s also a strong focus by medical professionals on preventing further injury due to any residual instability in the spine.
Rehabilitation following spine trauma focuses on strengthening muscles required to use supportive mobility aids, the psychological health of the patient and ongoing support with the use of medical appliances which promote independence.
Total or partial recovery for some people who suffer spine trauma is possible, but it’s an incremental process which requires patience and dedication from both patient and practitioner.
Spine Care New Jersey.
The team at Spine Consult NJ is specialized in treating all conditions of the spine, including spine trauma. If you’re seeking rehabilitative care following a serious injury to your spine, we invite you to contact us.