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Spinal cord injury treatments start right after the injury

The treatments for a spinal cord injury are usually very complex and involve various medical professionals. It might surprise some people to know that the treatments for spinal cord injuries start as soon as the injury occurs. That is because the actions of the injured person and those around them can greatly affect the ultimate outcome of the injury.

After a spinal cord injury occurs — or when a spinal cord injury is even suspected — keeping the spinal cord stable is crucial. This means that the person shouldn't be moved if it is possible for the person to remain safely where they are. When emergency personnel get the to the scene of the accident, they will use a rigid board and collar to keep the spinal cord stabilized during transport to the hospital.

Once the person gets to where they will receive care, the focus turns to preventing shock and determining the extent of the injury. From there, determinations about the care going forward will be made. Treatment can include using traction and other methods to keep the spine immobilized, surgery to correct spinal column defects or remove foreign objects and medications to reduce inflammation and damage to nerve cells. In some cases, experimental treatments might be utilized with the patient's permission.

Once the patient is stabilized and initial treatment is rendered, the patient will begin the long process of rehabilitation and learning to live with the effects of the injury. This can be expensive, as can the initial treatment. In an effort to reduce the financial impact, the patient might decide to file a lawsuit that names the party who caused the accident as the defendant.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Spinal cord injury," accessed July 13, 2016

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