Your spine is a critical part of your body. It supports you, helps you to move, and creates a protective tunnel for the nerves in your body. In short, damage to this area can cause significant issues.
One of the biggest concerns is damage to the nerves inside the spinal cord. These relay messages to and from the brain, effectively controlling movement and sensation throughout your body. Any damage to these nerves will result in a change of sensations and the ability to move certain parts of your body.
The initial concern will be whether the damage is permanent or not. The key to diagnosis and recovery is in getting a qualified spine surgeon to look at the issue as early as possible. The earlier the issue is identified the easier it is to decide on the right treatment option and the better the chances of recovery.
It is worth noting that the higher the injury on the spinal cord the more serious it is.
- Incomplete Injuries
Incomplete injuries mean that there is still some communication between the brain and the area below the spinal cord. This suggests there is a possibility of complete recovery in the long term.
- Complete Injuries
In contrast, a complete injury means the communication between the brain and the area below the injury has been cut off. In this instance, you are likely to be paralyzed in at least part of your body.
The good news is that research is ongoing and new treatments are being found regularly. Prostheses and medications are being developed that could encourage nerve regeneration or improve the function of the remaining nerves.
Time For Spinal Injury To Heal
It is difficult to say exactly how long a spinal injury will take to heal. There are many factors that need to be considered. However, in general, you’ll see most of the improvement in the first six months but improvements and healing can continue for as much as two years after the injury happened.
In the case of a complete recovery, it is still likely to take you between 6-12 months to return to your old activity level. You should also note that this area of your spine is likely to be weaker and needs to be looked after in the future.
Keys To Help Healing
One of the most important things that need to be done with a spine injury is not to move the back. This is why the medics have spinal boards and neck collars. Preventing movement decreases the risk of making the injury worse.
The next step is the emergency room where you’ll probably be given help breathing and the doctors will make sure you are not suffering from shock. They will monitor for complications and identify the exact damage that has been done.
This will allow them to give you a prognosis for the future although, at this stage, they cannot be certain what the long-term damage is. The human body is surprisingly good at repairing itself.
It’s at this stage you may have surgery and even revolutionary treatments to help it heal or prevent the damage from getting worse.
Support While Recovering
In most cases, you won’t be able to move initially as the doctors do everything they can to minimize further damage and encourage healing.
Once you have stabilized you’ll need care in the hospital or a recovery facility that ensures you don’t develop additional issues such as muscle contractures, bowel issues, and infections.
During this stage, you’ll meet your rehabilitation team and they will stay with you during the recovery process. This will be at the hospital and then at your home. They will monitor your recovery and make sure you know what exercises you should be doing to facilitate recovery. This may include relearning skills which can be frustrating.
In many cases, a complete recovery is not possible but, there are many aids that will help you to enjoy an active and productive life.
The recovery team will help you locate the best aids for your condition and ensure you can adapt to your new life, with a positive attitude.
Remember, the first six months are the toughest but generally offer the quickest results. However, you can continue to heal for up to two years.