Collisions involving tractor-trailers and other vehicles often result in serious injuries for the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicles. One such injury, spinal cord injuries may have life-changing implications for those who suffer them, as well as their families and loved ones.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, accident victims may suffer complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries. Complete spinal cord injury sufferers may experience a total loss of their sensory and motor functions below the levels of their injuries. Those with incomplete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, may retain some motor or sensory function below the primary injury level.

Trauma situation treatment of spinal cord injuries

Immediately following their trauma, emergent treatment of spinal cord injuries focuses on ensuring the patient has a pulse and working airway. Treatment then turns to helping prevent further injury to the spinal cord and evaluating the patient’s neurological function. To this end, emergency medical services and health care providers may immobilize those who suffer spinal cord injuries. Patients may also require surgery to stabilize the spine, traction to bring the spine back into alignment, and hospitalization to monitor for and treat any complications that may result from their injuries.

Long-term care for spinal cord injuries

According to the Mayo Clinic, treatments and medical interventions cannot currently reverse the damage that causes spinal cord injuries. Those who do recover from such injuries often begin to experience improvements within a week to six months following their injuries. In addition to taking medications to help manage the effects of their injuries and prevent potential complications, people with spinal cord injuries may also require rehabilitation with a team that may include an occupational therapist, a rehabilitation nurse, a physical therapist, a social worker and a rehabilitation psychologist. Through rehab, people may maintain and strengthen their existing motor functions and learn adaptive techniques that may help them return to their lives as much as possible.