Spinal cord disorders treatment
Spinal cord disorders are characterized by damage to the spinal cord (tumours, traumas, compressions, and infections). The conditions cause serious problems such as paralysis, pain, urinary incontinence, etc. However, in most cases, long-term rehabilitation can minimize the symptoms. In addition, spine surgery eliminates the causes and significantly improves the prognosis.
The spinal cord is completed with a bunch of nerves and is located in the spinal canal. This canal is surrounded by spines and protects the spinal cord from injury. However, many conditions can compress and negatively affect the spinal cord, causing spinal cord disorders. The reasons are as follows:
- Hematomas (blood accumulation);
- Vertebral fractures.
- Stenosis (narrowing) of the spine.
- Infectious and inflammatory processes (meningitis, syphilis, HIV).
- Degenerative diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy).
According to WHO statistics, from 250,000 to half a million people get spinal cord disorders yearly. Over 90% of all spinal cord diseases are the result of trauma. In addition, statistics show that spine injuries are four times more common in men than women.
The severity of signs depends on the degree and location of the damage. Symptoms of a spinal cord illness include:
- Paralysis: diplegia - damage to both arms or legs; hemiplegia - damage to one side of the body, right or left; tetraplegia - lack of movement of all limbs.
- Severe pain or burning, numbness of the limbs.
- Loss of sensation (partial or complete).
- Bladder and bowel incontinence.
- Laboured breathing.
The primary method of treatment is surgery. Neurosurgeons eliminate the reason for the spinal cord disorder by operations (tumour or hernia removal, restoration of vertebral fractures, etc.). In addition, permanent care and rehabilitation (including physiotherapy, robotic rehabilitation devices, exercise therapy, and emotional support). Some doctors might advise stem cell therapy as an additional advanced treatment. It aims to replace damaged nerve cells with stem cells to regenerate neurons and create new nerve connections. Many patients can be candidates for non-surgical treatment including nerve blockage, medications and injections to relieve pain.
The prognosis of a spinal cord disorder depends on the severity of the injury. Most patients recover within the first six months due to intensive rehabilitation. However, some cases of neurological recovery take 2-5 years.