It is difficult to truly understand the consequences of a spinal cord injury unless you, or someone close to you, have personally been affected by such an injury. Often leading to long-term chronic pain and mobility issues among several other complications, a spinal cord injury can certainly make many aspects of life more difficult.
Typically these types of injuries are caused by external trauma, often as a result of an accident. For instance, auto accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, as the impact of being involved in a crash can cause significant trauma and often compression to the spine.
Along with the risks associated with being involved in a vehicle accident, spinal cord injuries can also occur from other types of accidents, such as an individual falling and landing in an awkward position. The trauma doesn’t need to be around the spine itself, as damage to the head, neck, chest, and wider back can all result in serious spinal cord damage.
Thankfully, improvements in technology are revolutionizing the treatment options available for individuals with spinal cord injuries. With various new and effective treatments now accessible, the outlook for patients with spinal cord injuries has never been better.
Those suffering from a spinal cord injury now have more treatments available to them than ever before, largely thanks to improvements in technology. These options can help manage the adverse effects that result from this type of injury.
Technology and Spinal Cord Injuries
Almost every aspect of human life has been drastically improved by technology. Medicine is perhaps one of the most obvious examples of this, with new treatments, procedures and discoveries constantly being developed thanks to technological advancements.
Beyond this, education has greatly improved thanks to technology. With more resources available than ever, we can now better educate using technology to create interactive and engaging learning environments, not to mention how much information is widely accessible using the Internet.
It’s safe to say that technology has greatly improved many aspects of human life, and the treatment of chronic injuries like a spinal cord injury is no different.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which technology has helped revolutionize treatment options for spinal cord injury patients:
Epidural stimulation is a procedure that is considered as a breakthrough treatment option for spinal cord injuries. The process, which is explained in more detail here, revolves around the epidural stimulation device and can help patients regain mobility and also alleviate other symptoms that arise as a result of damaging the spine.
A small stimulator is implanted and attached to the spine, where it then sends constant electrical currents to specific parts of the spinal cord.
The device is able to bypass the injured portion of the spine and allow the patient to recover mobility of the limbs. This means that voluntary movements can be regained as a result of the treatment.
Extensive rehabilitation is an essential part of the procedure and the patient will also learn how to control the device on their own to continue rehabilitation once they have left the dedicated treatment facility.
Patients who have received this pioneering treatment have seen remarkable changes in their condition, with many being able to take steps for the first time since they sustained their injury as well as seeing improvements in other areas such as bladder control, muscle mass growth, and body temperature regulation.
Wearable technology has come on in leaps and bounds in just a few short years and patients with spinal cord injuries are some of the people benefiting most from these advancements.
One of the most promising examples of wearable tech for those with a spinal cord injury is the exoskeleton.
Exoskeletons vary in design, but most are fitted around the legs, hips, and spine to provide stability required when helping spinal cord injury patients make movements once again.
This type of technology can also be used as a form of physical therapy to help individuals recover from their injury. The ability to complete repetitive walking using an exoskeleton could assist the brain and spine in rerouting signals that are limited from the injury. This can be an invaluable form of therapy when attempting to recover the ability to walk following a spinal cord injury.
Advances in medical technology are improving the lives of patients suffering from various ailments throughout the world, as demonstrated above with the example of spinal cord injuries and the increased options available to those who have sustained one.
The outlook will only improve as research and development continues and the technology available to us becomes ever more advanced.