People with paraplegia and quadriplegia may also become
Lack of emotional support
Increased dependence on others
Diagnosis involves finding out where and how badly the brain and spinal cord are damaged. To do this, doctors will likely do the following tests:
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the brain and spinal cord
—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the brain and spinal cord
<![CDATA]>Nerve conduction study<![CDATA]>
—test that measures the speed and degree of electrical activity in a nerve to determine if it is functioning normally, often used when the cause of the injury is not due to trauma
Myelography (rarely used)—a test that involves injecting a special dye into the spinal canal, uses
or CT scans to identify the damaged areas of the spine
Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) (rarely used)—a test to evaluate the conduction of the nerves in the spinal cord
—a procedure to collect cerebrospinal fluid, done if neurologic disease is suspected
Immediate treatment of spinal cord injuries includes bracing the bony spine to keep it from moving and further injuring the spinal cord. Steroids and other medications may be used to lessen damage to nerves and adjacent tissue.
Recovery and rehabilitation usually begins in the acute care hospital setting. Depending on the cause and extent of the condition, this involves:
Intensive physical therapy
During this time, patients are fitted for mobility aids, often including wheelchairs. For most people, the majority of recovery happens within the first year.
The following measures are recommended by safety experts to reduce your chance of getting a spinal cord injury:
Drive safely. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Wear a seat belt every time you drive. Make sure your children wear a seat belt or are in a child safety seat. Don't drive if you have been drinking or using drugs.
Be safe with firearms. Lock guns and ammunition in a safe place. Store them separately in locked containers.
Take measures to avoid falls.
Use a stool or stepladder to reach high places. Add handrails along stairways. Place nonslip mats in your bathroom, shower, and under carpets. To keep children safe, use safety gates to block stairs. Install window guards.
Always wear safety gear when playing sports. Avoid headfirst moves, such as:
Diving into shallow water
Spear tackling in football
Sliding headfirst in baseball
Skating headfirst into the boards in ice hockey
Use a spotter in gymnastics. Don't jump from higher than 8 to 10 feet.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a