Are spinal cord injuries permanent? ever be cured? Yes, and it is damage to the spinal cord that causes temporary or permanent changes in its function. Symptoms may include loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic function in the parts of the body served by the spinal cord below the level of the injury. Injury can occur at any level of the spinal cord and can be complete injury, with a total loss of sensation and muscle function, or incomplete, meaning some nervous signals are able to travel past the injured area of the cord. Depending on the location and severity of damage, the symptoms vary, from numbness to paralysis to incontinence. Long-term outcomes also range widely, from full recovery to permanent tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia) or paraplegia. Complications can include muscle atrophy, pressure sores, infections, and breathing problems.
Treatment Spinal Cord Injury
- Rest – It is important that patient take proper rest and sleep and avoid any activities which will further aggravate the disc bulge and its symptoms. Many minor disc bulges can heal on their own with rest and other conservative treatment.
- Cervical Pillow – It is important to use the right pillow to give your neck the right type of support for healing from a cervical disc bulge and also to improve the quality of sleep.
Specific treatment for lumbar disk disease will be determined by your health care provider based on
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Type of condition
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
Typically, conservative therapy is the first line of treatment to manage lumbar disk disease. Approach for Treating and Reversing a Disc Bulge about half of the disc bulges heal within six months and only about 10% of the disc bulges require surgery. So, the good news is that conservative treatment for a disc bulge helps in treating as well as reversing the disc bulges.
- Ice & Moist Heat Application
Ice application where the ice is wrapped in a towel or an ice pack for about 20 minutes to the affected region, thrice a day, helps in relieving the symptoms of a disc bulge. Heat application in the later stages of treatment also provide the same benefit.
- Hot Bath
Taking a hot bath or shower also helps in dulling the pain from a disc bulge. Epsom salts or essential oils can be added to a hot bath. They will help in soothing the inflamed region.
- Massage therapy – may give short-term pain relief, but not a functional improvement, for those with acute lower back pain. It may also give short-term pain relief and functional improvement for those with long-term (chronic) and sub-acute lower pack pain, but this benefit does not appear to be sustained after 6 months of treatment. There does not appear to be any serious adverse effects associated with massage.
- Acupuncture – may provide some relief for back pain. However, further research with stronger evidence needs to be done.
- Spinal manipulation – is a widely-used method of treating back pain, although there is no evidence of long-term benefits.
- “Back school” – is an intervention that consists of both education and physical exercises. A 2016 Cochrane review found the evidence concerning back school to be very low quality and was not able to make generalizations as to whether the back school is effective or not.
- Patient education on proper body mechanics (to help decrease the chance of worsening pain or damage to the disk)
- Physical therapy – which may include ultrasound, massage, conditioning, and exercise
- Weight control
- Use of a lumbosacral back support
Medications for Spinal Cord Injury
- Analgesics – Prescription-strength drugs that relieve pain but not inflammation.
- Antidepressants: A Drugs that block pain messages from your brain and boost the effects of eorphins (your body’s natural painkillers).
- Medication – Common pain remedies such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen , and naproxen can offer short-term relief. All are available in low doses without a prescription. Other medications,including muscle relaxants and anti-seizure medications, treat aspects of spinal stenosis, such as muscle spasms and damaged nerves.
- Corticosteroid injections – Your doctor will inject a steroid such as prednisone into your back or neck. Steroids make inflammation go down. However, because of side effects, they are used sparingly.
- Anesthetics – Used with precision, an injection of a “nerve block” can stop the pain for a time.
- Muscle Relaxants – These medications provide relief from spinal muscle spasms.
- Skeletal muscle relaxers – may also be used.Their short term use has been shown to be effective in the relief of acute back pain. However, the evidence of this effect has been disputed, and these medications do have negative side-effects.
- Neuropathic Agents: Drugs(pregabalin & gabapentine) that address neuropathic—or nerve-related—pain. This includes burning, numbness, and tingling.
- Antibiotic – to the management of bowel & bladders control and protect further infection. Infection causes should be treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy
- Topical Medications – These prescription-strength creams, gels, ointments, patches, and sprays help relieve pain and inflammation through the skin.
- Calcium & vitamin D3 – to improve bones health and healing fracture.
- Glucosamaine & diacerine – can be used to tightening the loose tenson and regenerate cartilage or inhabit the further degeneration of cartilage.
- Corticosteroid – to healing the nerve inflamation and clotted blood in the joints.
- Diatery suppliment -to remove the general weakness & improved the health.
- Lesion debulking – is required for space-occupying lesions – eg, tumours, abscess.
- If surgery cannot be performed – radiotherapy may relieve cord compression caused by malignant disease.
- Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy – may have a role in treatment if the cauda equina syndrome is caused by the tumor.
- Support or brace – A pelvic belt can be used to stabilize a joint that is too loose until the inflammation and pain subside.
- Joint injections – Numbing injections into the sacroiliac joint are used diagnostically to help identify the cause of the but are also useful in providing immediate pain relief. Typically, an anesthetic is injected along with an anti-inflammatory medication.
Other treatment options
- Other treatment options – may be useful in certain patients, depending on the underlying cause of the CES
- Anti-inflammatory agents, including steroids, can be effective in patients with inflammatory causes – eg, ankylosing spondylitis.
- Patients with spinal neoplasms should be evaluated for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Weakness – Physiotherapy may be helpful if there is no inflammatory component such as that found in arachnoiditis where exercise might exacerbate the condition and cause flare-ups.
- Sensory Loss – Little conventional treatment exists for sensory loss in cauda Equina syndrome, although in conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis use of vitamin B complex is considered to have potential beneficial effects.
- Sore Feet – Loss of muscle tone and control over the movement of the foot may lead to foot pain. If foot drop is a notable issue, a brace to hold it in position may help. It is important; however, to attempt to maintain as much muscle tone as possible as well as a range of movement (ROM). Exercises might help.
- Sexual Dysfunction – Sexual dysfunction is very hard for people to talk about at times. It might be best to pursue advice from specialists. If no physical treatment is feasible for improving function, the person and their sexual partner might pursue counseling which might help to lessen the impact of this disability on not only the person affected, but their partner.
- Depression – Depression is an understandable reaction to a form of debilitating illness. Antidepressant medication should be reserved for severe depression. Counseling and support are the preferred method of managing depression. Sharing experiences may help people with cauda Equina syndrome to come to terms with the disabilities associated with cauda Equina syndrome.
- Poor Circulation – Poor circulation is a common issue in cauda Equina syndrome. The person’s feet may be cold and turn white, then red when re-warmed (also known as, ‘Raynaud’s syndrome,) as well as chilblains. Some medications exist that can be taken, yet it is most likely best to use general measures such as avoiding getting cold feet and foot massage with warm oil to help improve the person’s circulation. Avoid extremely hot baths after the feet have been cold because it will most likely cause chilblains.
- Postoperative care – includes addressing lifestyle issues (eg, obesity), and also physiotherapy and occupational therapy, depending on residual lower limb dysfunction.
- Prolotherapy – the practice of injecting solutions into joints (or other areas) to cause inflammation and thereby stimulate the body’s healing response – has not been found to be effective by itself, although it may be helpful when added to another therapy.
- Herbal medicines – as a whole, are poorly supported by evidence.The herbal treatments Devil’s claw and white willow may reduce the number of individuals reporting high levels of pain; however, for those taking pain relievers, this difference is not significant. Capsicum, in the form of either a gel or a plaster cast, has been found to reduce pain and increase function.
- Behavioral therapy – may be useful for chronic pain. There are several types available, including operant conditioning, which uses reinforcement to reduce undesirable behaviors and increase desirable behaviors;
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – which helps people identify and correct negative thinking and behavior; and respondent conditioning, which can modify an individual’s physiological response to pain. Medical providers may develop an integrated program of behavioral therapies. The evidence is inconclusive as to whether mindfulness-based stress reduction reduces chronic back pain intensity or associated disability, although it suggests that it may be useful in improving the acceptance of existing pain.
- Tentative evidence supports neuroreflexotherapy (NRT) – in which small pieces of metal are placed just under the skin of the ear and back, for non-specific low back pain
About the author