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Physical Therapy for Spinal Cord Injuries

What treatment options exist for spinal cord injuries?

Spinal cord injuries are traditionally some of the most difficult injuries to effectively treat.  A spinal cord injury can rapidly progress to numbness, loss of feeling, and paralysis if left untreated or allowed to worsen.  Physical therapy is a key component to the treatment of spinal cord injuries.  Most hospitals will initiate physical therapy while the patient is still receiving treatment, then physical therapy will be ongoing until the injury has healed.

Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that over 282,000 people across the United States are living with a spinal cord injury.  Spinal cord injuries commonly result from car accidents, sports injuries, work related accidents, and falls.  Spinal cord injuries range in severity, with minor injuries capable of healing rapidly, while more serious injuries at times proving life-long.

The more severe the injury, the more it will cost the patient.  Patients with high tetraplegia, which involves loss of function in all four limbs, can be expected to pay a million dollars for care within the first year alone.  Low tetraplegia costs about $750,000, while paraplegia will average about $500,000 a year.  Injures that do not paralyze but impede motor function will cost an average of $350,000 per year.  For the average family, a spinal cord injury is simply unaffordable.

Physical Therapy Benefits and Costs

Part of your treatment following a spinal cord injury will most certainly include physical therapy.  Spinal cord injury patients will typically complete an inpatient stay in a rehabilitation center.  Here, the patient will learn to maximize their mobility and live independently.  After discharge, outpatient physical therapy will begin.

Outpatient therapy will typically involve two sessions a week, during which time trained physical therapists will assist the patient in performing exercises to improve strength and mobility and increase circulation.  Physical therapists will help patients learn to complete daily living tasks with their new limited mobility.

Physical therapy has been shown to have a positive impact on spinal cord injury victims both in their physical recovery and emotional recovery, but physical therapy also comes at a financial cost.  Spinal cord injury victims who were injured due to the negligence of another person or company should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine whether they may be eligible to receive compensation to cover the costs of the injury.

Posted in: Spinal Cord Injury