Spinal Cord Injury

Mechanism of the injury that can cause damage to the vertebrae with a resultant damage to the cord is usually a hyperflexion with rotation is less likely to cause damage to the cord. Injuries to the spinal cord can be caused by:

  1. Fracture or fracture with dislocation  
  2. Sports injuries 
  3. Industrial injuries 
  4. Stab injury 
  5. Gunshot injuries 
  6. Surgical procedures: Surgeries done in and around the spinal cord can cause damage to it. Fracture or fracture dislocation can be caused either due to the collision of a heavy object over the head or directly over the spine.

Complication of Spinal Cord Injuries

  1. Pressure sores: In the case of chronic illness with spinal cord injury, the patient is bed-ridden for a long time. If proper care is not taken patient develops pressure sores which becomes a major complication if infected.
  2. Tightness and contractures: Because of the inability of the patient to move the lower limbs, patients lower limbs are positioned under the effect of gravity or under the influence of spasticity. The patient suffers from tightness, contractures and loss of ROM. If these are not treated in time it will lead to fixed malalignment of joints which eventually will lead to deformity.
  3. Osteoporosis: without adequate weight bearing imposed on the lower limb bones more and more calcium is released from bones which causes osteoporotic and fragile bones that are prone to have fractures even with trivial trauma.
  4. Urinary Tract Infection and urinary calculi: due to urinary retention in the spinal cord injury patient there is the growth of bacteria primarily due to the presence of an indwelling catheter which acts as the main source of entrance for the bacteria.
  5. Pain syndrome: the source of pain can be traumatic, spinal cord pain and musculoskeletal.

Physiotherapy Management:

The aims of the physiotherapy management consist of:

  • Prevention of all secondary complications as a result of being bedridden
  • Restoration of functional independence to the maximum possible limit
  • Psychological counselling.
  • Social and vocational rehabilitation
  • Family education   
  • Home adaptation