Rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries or diseases
Spinal cord diseases and injuries, spinal aneurysms, spinal surgeries and post-surgery complications require further proper rehabilitation. Even the most innocuous back surgery of removing an intervertebral hernia can lead to certain complication that will need a later rehabilitation. A large number of patients, literally put back on their feet, witness that the rehabilitation of spinal cord patients in Israel is placed on the highest level.
The spinal cord is an extension of the human brain, its damage is causing a loose of control of all organs and systems located below the damaged area.
The higher the level of damage – the greater the number of functions will that need rehabilitation. Spinal cord lesions may lead to a failure of motor and sensory functions of the lower and upper limbs, as well as frustration of the urogenital system function which is also associated with additional serious complications:
- urinary tract infections;
- spastic syndrome;
- deep vein thrombosis;
- misfunction of the respiratory function;
- bed sores;
Preventing complications helps to save the patient's life and makes the further rehabilitation possible. Statistic shows that in the most severe cases, when the patient loses sensitivity and ability to move, around 10% of patients can return their walking ability.
The sooner the patient gets his rehab, the higher the chances of success. Depending on the level and severity of the spinal cord injury the specialists develop an individual rehabilitation plan, which is made up of the following components:
- removal of pain;
- exercises to restore limb mobility and strengthen muscles, including exercises using rehabilitation technologies;
- control over the activities of the pelvic organs;
- self-service skills training;
- psychological rehabilitation;
- occupational therapy, including development of the upper body muscles; fine motor skills (for patients with cervical spine injuries or lesions), and others.
- learning new necessary skills (f.e. wheelchair operation or driving a car using special equipment).
Each element of the rehabilitation program is in responsibility of a specific expert (physiotherapist, psychologist, occupational therapist, speech therapist). The program is jointly coordinated by treating physician specializing in rehabilitation. If necessary, he also joins to work additional narrow specialists: urologists, orthopedists, specialists in internal medicine.
An important role in the rehabilitation process also plays a professional medical care, carried out by rehabilitational nurses. the case of spinal cord patients this medical care includes: monitoring the patient's state and the impact of designated drugs, supervision of the sphincters and prevention of pressure sores and other hardhealed wounds, and more.
Some time ago, Reuth obtained an unusual patient. Giving birth to an absolutely health little girl a woman had a complication with the epidural anesthesia – she was not able to walk. As she was a single mother, she could only start her rehabilitation treatment if her child was next to her. However, no rehabilitation institution was ready to take this responsibility. In Reuth she was hospitalized together with the newborn so she has given the opportunity to fully recover, while she and her daughter received a proper care.
In addition to direct rehabilitation treatment of patient, medical staff in Reuth also works with the family of the patient, teaching them the necessary skills to maintain the patient at home and provide the necessary support in a difficult situation.
An integrated and comprehensive approach to spinal rehabilitation helps to achieve impressive results in the recovery of these patients.
The main thing about people with spinal injuries is that they should not think that their life is over! It just would be different, filled with different content. There will be new goals, different priorities will be set. And when a person has a goal, interesting things to do, strong will, caring home – these people can live, getting pleasure out of life and benefiting others. Not just exist.
Here are some stories of our patients:
. . .
The young 19-year-old teen Giorgio, had an accident abroad. He had quadriplegia, could not feel and move his arms and legs. After a long rehabilitation movement partially returned. The first few years, the main efforts were focused on the return of ability to stand and walk; to maintain the achieved results.
With the help of a rehabilitation psychologist he set up a tentative time plan for rehabilitation and personal life, as it is impossible to put all the efforts in life only for rehabilitation. To maintain the stability of his health state the efforts were put on most important life-supporting processes in order to avoid any further complications (urinary tract infections, respiratory insufficiency, pressure sores and other wounds, contractures). It was also important to keep an eye on the eating, to avoid suffocation or pneumonia on the basis of aspiration.
Now Giorgio is a successful businessman, engaged in real estate; his day is fully busy. He is surrounded by many friends and business partners.
. . .
A young girl left paraplegic after a car accident. Following a long rehabilitation period including also psychotherapeutic sessions, she became fully independent in a wheelchair, and a few years after the accident, met a young man, married and had two children.