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What are prospects for recovering from a spinal cord injury?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

An auto collision caused by another vehicle can injure your spinal cord. The idea of a spinal cord injury can be frightening because many people associate spinal cord damage with permanent paralysis. This is actually not true for all spinal cord injury patients. Recovery prospects actually vary and some patients regain some lost motor function.

Still, a full recovery from a spinal cord injury is rare. As Medical News Today explains, whether you can recover a significant part of your lost motor function following a spinal cord injury depends on the nature of your injury.

Incomplete and complete injuries

An automobile collision could cause enough damage to only partially damage your spinal cord. This type of injury still allows signals from your brain to travel through the cord to different parts of your body. Though you may have diminished motor function, you might still be able to carry out actions like walking, shifting your body or picking up objects.

By contrast, an auto accident that causes a complete spinal cord injury could stop all nerve signals from flowing past the injured section. This type of injury results in paralysis beyond the damaged area. Depending on where the injury is, a person may lose the ability to walk or use the upper extremities like the arms or hands.

Factors that affect recovery

If your spinal cord injury is incomplete, you face a greater chance of recovering motor function than a complete injury. Early treatment is crucial since it may halt damage to the spinal cord. The first year following the injury is also important since you may be at greater risk of complications during this period and could suffer health setbacks or even death.

If you do recover lost motor function, it will likely happen within the first 18 months after your injury. Still, your life is bound to change following spinal cord damage. You may need assistance to compensate for whatever function you have lost, such as mechanical devices like phone applications or electronic aids. This assistance will likely factor into your overall treatment plan.