Spinal Cord Injury
What is Spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that causes reversible or irreversible changes in its function. Symptoms may include loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic function in the parts of the body supplied by the spinal cord below the level of the injury like the person will not be able to feel or control the bowel and bladder functions and will become confined to the bed.
What is the function of the spinal cord and where is it located?
The spinal cord is a long, fragile tube-like structure that extends from the base of the brain to near the waist. The spinal cord consists of nerves that carry incoming and outgoing messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Its only when the spinal cord transmits a message from the brain, can the body respond to those messages.
Is spinal cord injury a permanent condition?
Damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal gives rise to spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury leads to permanent changes in strength, sensation and other function of the body below the site of the injury. A spinal canal injury alters almost every aspect of life. You can feel the consequences of the injury mentally, emotionally and socially. Holistic treatment and rehabilitation help people affected with spinal cord injurylead almost-normal, productive and an independent life.
Will I ever walk again?
Yes you will definitely be able to walk based your clinical state. The lower your injury and the more sensation/movement you have, the greater your chances are of regaining mobility, provided the treatment plan is chalked out as per your assessment and needs and is custom made for you.
Will I regain control of my bladder or bowels?
Yes, with proper treatment, depending on the level of injury.
What does the Plexus program consist of?
The Plexus Neuro-Rehabilitation Program consists of a complete package comprising of nutritive therapy, various oral and intravenous medications and a holistic rehabilitation program comprising of a unique combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and therapeutic massages.
How are spinal cord injuries classified?
Spinal cord injuries are classified into complete spinal cord injury and incomplete spinal cord injury. Two people might have sustained the same level and type of spinal cord injury, but the similarities usually end there. Each person may have different functional capabilities, depending on the degree of injury. Spinal cord injuries are extremely complex and it usually demands the intensive treatment of a team of medical professionals to help the person cope with the injury, both on the physical and emotional levels.
- Complete spinal cord injury:
Complete spinal cord injury causes total loss of bodily movements. There is absolutely no sensation and no ability for movement (motor function) below the level of the injury. About 50% of all spinal cord injuries are complete. In complete spinal cord injury, both sides of the body are severely affected. Ironically, even with a complete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is rarely cut or transected. More often, loss of function is on account of contusion or bruise to the spinal cord or reduced supply of blood to the injured part of the spinal cord.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury:
If you have some sensation and motor movements below the affected site, then it is incomplete injury. As a result, some function remains below the level of the injury. Here patients may be able to move one arm or leg than the other. Paralysis is the consequence of a spinal cord injury. It could be tetraplegia or paraplegia
What are the various signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury?
Your medical team will conduct a series of tests to determine the intensity and completeness of the injury. Following are the signs and symptoms that one needs to look out for in case of a spinal cord injury.
- Loss of movement
- Loss or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
How many patients of Spinal cord injury have been treated at Plexus?
We at Plexus have treated the highest number of patients with spinal cord injury and have obtained miraculous recovery in all. Even patients who have received our treatment after twenty to twenty five years of injury have gained back their functioning.
An art teacher’s dream
Ms. A is a 46 year old art teacher from Maldives. On 1st April, 2017 a trivial fall that happened in her response to an insect lead to a series of life changing events. She suffered from a high level spinal cord injury that rendered her paralyzed and helpless for a lifetime. She suffered from C5-6 spinal cord injury. She underwent a surgery that fixed the vertebral fracture at Maldives itself and started receiving rehabilitative treatment. By virtue of the nature of the injury she was able to raise her arms slightly and bend elbows and had total paralysis of wrists, hands, trunk and legs. She was able to speak but breathing was weakened. She needed assistance with all activities of daily living like brushing, bathing, dressing, eating etc.
One year after this unfortunate incident she came to Plexus with the dream of becoming independent once again. Being an art teacher in a pre-primary school she wanted to be able to use her hands again to draw and paint. She desperately wanted to get back to her work. On assessment it was found that she had severe shoulder stiffness on both the sides, no trunk control, she was not able to sit, complete paralysis of hands and legs, no sensations in her trunk and legs. She was in a “bed ridden” state on her arrival at Plexus. In addition to the innumerable physical deficits and problems, her mental state was also very low, she was extremely de-motivated and depressed due to her condition. A team of highly specialized professionals attended to her complains. Goals were set and regularly her condition was reviewed with the team. The goals of rehabilitation were to achieve maximum trunk control, reduce stiffness of all the limbs and gradually gain independence towards her daily activities.
As days became months Ms. A gained more and more independence in her daily activities. The stiffness present in her shoulders disappeared, she started sitting on her own and her trunk became stronger, she started eating a sandwich first and later rice on her own and most importantly she was able to write, draw and paint with her right hand. Her strong will, the super specialized treatment services and the continuous motivation by team Plexus made her achieve her dream of being able draw and paint. As time unfolded itself, she was seen standing with assistance towards the end of her treatment program.