If you have had a spinal cord injury, you know how scary it can be wondering if you will ever recover. Doctors tell their patients and the families of patients that recovery is not an option after a spinal cord injury but this is not necessarily true. In fact, some recovery is to be expected after most spinal cord injuries. Here is some information about what you can expect in the future if you have a spinal cord injury.
The majority of patients with spinal cord injuries recover one or two segments below where the injury is, even after what doctors call complete spinal cord injuries. A person with an injury occurring between the C4 and C5 vertebrae can recover bicep functioning, wrist etensors, and possibly even triceps function after many months. These functions have to do with the C5, C6, and C7 vertebrates, respectively.
Recovery With Methylprednisolone
If someone is administered a high dose of methylprednisolone after a complete spinal cord injury, they will recover, on average, 21% of the motor skills they had lost in comparison to the 8% they recover without it. Patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries ended up recovering, on average, 59% of the motor function while if they receive a high dose of methyl prednisolone they recover around 75% of motor functioning.
Recovery From Cervical or Upper Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries
Most people that have injuries of the spinal cord around the cervical or upper thoracic areas will likely be unable to control their trunk muscles initially. Most will end up recovering some trunk control over the next few months or years. Be patient.
Walking Quadriplegics and Paraplegics
The majority of individuals who have incomplete spinal cord injuries will recover the ability to stand or walk eventually. Complete spinal cord injuries have a rate of 5% recovery rate of walking and standing. In the 90’s, over 60% of spinal cord injuries were considered incomplete and ended up regaining their ability to walk.
Spinal Cord Regeneration
Studies in animals, as well as humans, have shown that only 10% of spinal cord tracts actually support locomotion functioning. There are some people that are still able to walk even though 90% of their spinal cord has been damaged by a tumor. This is explained by both the spinal cords redundancy and plasticity. Many spinal pathways have functions that are similar or overlap. Plasticity is the ability of axons to actually sprout and make new connections. Most people have these axons crossing the injury site. Given time this regeneration can restore the function of the spinal cord over time.
If you have been involved in an accident and have some damage to your spinal cord, there is hope. You should contact a Austin Personal Injury Lawyer to help you figure out what can be done about the accident and take your time to recover. Although you may never completely recover, there are many things that you may regain as time goes on.