Surviving Injury

neck’s inherent flexibility. Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury

As mentioned previously, thoracic SCIs are not as common because of the protection the rib cage offers. Although surgery may be required for decompression, traction is not usually necessary. Bracing may be required to provide additional stability to the rib cage. Lumbar or Sacral Spine Injury Lower back injuries tend to involve the cauda equine, the group of nerve roots that extend beyond the spinal cord, not the spinal cord itself. This type of injury may require surgery and external bracing for stabilization.

Other Medical Concerns and Complications The spinal cord is an essential component in our body’s functioning. It is imperative that a victim and survivor receives care by those familiar with SCI because the injury can affect so many life-sustaining functions. Doctors and other medical personnel are also careful to monitor and treat pain. Pain may be associated with the original

For more information about SCI visit The National Spinal Cord Injury

Association at

injury to the spine, or it can be neurogenic pain. Neurogenic pain is caused by the spinal cord, not by an external stimulus, so it is very difficult to treat. This pain is described as burning or tingling. Some classes of antidepressant medications are successful in treating neurogenic pain. In addition, relaxation, meditation, and imagery are techniques often applied to treat pain that does not respond well to medication. Complications associated with SCI: • Lung and breathing problems • Bowel and bladder management issues • Pressure sores • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism • Increased risk for stroke or seizure Some injuries do not respond well to medication and other techniques are needed.


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