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Spinal cord injuries and the rehabilitation process

Whether it is a fall, a car accident, a workplace accident or a sports injury, spinal cord injuries can be considered some of the most devastating injuries out there, particularly when they lead to lifelong consequences. For those in West Virginia who survive a spinal cord injury, the rehabilitation process is an especially important -- and ultimately expensive -- factor in returning to daily functioning. The main goals of rehabilitation include maximizing the person's physical abilities, preventing secondary complications and returning the injured victim to their community.

There are different types of therapies that may be a part of the rehabilitation process. For example, physical therapists help victims with mobility issues in an effort to help spinal cord injury victims regain function in their lower extremities. Occupational therapists, on the other hand, help victims with their upper extremity mobility, along with the difficulties the injury may present in the victim's everyday life. Speech therapists can help victims who need assistance swallowing and talking. Rehabilitation nurses can help victims with issues regarding the bladder and bowels, and can also help manage pressure ulcers.

Psychologists help victims come to terms with what is understandably a difficult time in their lives emotionally, and can also help address the victim's behavioral issues, along with the possibility of cognitive issues. In addition, social workers and case managers may be the go-between with the victim's rehabilitation specialists, the payer source and the victim and their family.

As this shows, rehabilitation after a debilitating spinal cord injury can be a team effort. Unfortunately, this usually comes with significant costs. Those who have suffered spinal cord injuries due to another person's negligence may consider the possibility of pursuing a lawsuit, in order to recoup the expenses they incur in the rehabilitation process.

Source: Medscape, "Rehabilitation of Persons With Spinal Cord Injuries," Michael F. Saulino, MD, PhD, Sept. 10, 2014

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