The Road to Recovery Following a Spinal Injury
Recovering from a spinal injury takes time. When an injury occurs, it is essential to follow doctor’s orders and adhere to your therapy regimen. Every spinal injury is different, and there is no way to say precisely how long your journey will take. However, when it comes to the recovery process itself, there are some milestones along the way that you will want to celebrate.
- Injury Survival – A spinal injury is physically, emotionally, and mentally devastating. Shifting into survival mode is how many individuals get through the first hours, days, and weeks following the accident.
- Receiving Emergency Care – Many spinal cord injuries require hospitalization at the onset. At this stage, you are likely to experience multiple x-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, and blood tests to confirm the extent of the injury.
- Undergoing Surgical Treatment – Depending on the injury, you may require surgical intervention to prevent further injury. The goal of surgery is to prevent further damage and to restore function as much as possible. If multiple surgical procedures are required, your physician and surgeon will go over the risks and benefits with you.
- Hospital Release – Most individuals spend just under two weeks in the hospital following the injury. This period is to stabilize your health, not to cure the injury. When your physician determines that your health is stable, you will be discharged either to your own home or to a rehabilitation facility that specializes in spinal cord injuries.
- Commencing Physical Therapy – Physical therapy helps your body relearn how to stand up, walk, grasp objects, and perform other everyday tasks. The goal of your physical therapist is to restore as much function as possible. Your therapist will also help you learn how to use any adaptive aids you may require.
- Recovering Your Emotional Health – Counseling is advisable for all survivors of a spinal cord injury. Your counselor will help you process the emotions that arose from the spinal cord injury and the psychological impact the damage caused.
- Becoming You Again – It can take weeks, months, and even years to recover from a spinal cord injury. There is no timeline you have to follow. The day you look into the mirror and call yourself a “survivor” is the day you will know that you have reached this significant milestone in your recovery journey.
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