The prognosis for spinal cord injuries varies depending on the severity of the injury. There is always hope of recovering some function with spinal cord injuries. The completeness and location of the injury will determine the prognosis.
There are two levels of completeness in spinal cord injuries which impact the outlook:
Spinal cord injuries in which the patient has not experienced paralysis have the greatest chance of recovery. However, those patients who do experience paralysis still have a remarkable chance that is improving with research every day. The sooner treatments are implemented to strengthen muscles below the level of the spinal cord injury, the better the prognosis.
The first year of recovery is the hardest as the patient is just beginning to adjust to his or her condition. The use of physical and occupational therapy during this time is the key to recovery. The extent of the function fully returning is typically seen in the first two years after the initial injury.
Treatment options vary with each spinal cord injury, but typically include:
Mental health is a huge part of recovery for the spinal cord injury patient. Anxiety and depression are common in spinal cord injury patients. These patients will go through good days, and not so good days.
There may be days where the patient wants to give up completely on treatments, and will wonder if it is all worth it. Keeping up with the mental health of the spinal cord injury patient is incredibly important for the overall recovery. Mental health has been proven to directly relate to physical health.
Having a good support system is incredibly important to the overall outlook of a spinal cord injury patient. Spinal cord injury patients will need both physical and emotional support.
Caregivers should continually provide patients with: