Powerful Pain Relief For Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is an injury to the spinal cord that results in temporary or permanent loss of function, such as mobility and/or sensory functionality.
The spinal column consists of 33 rings of bone called Vertebra: Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar Vertebrae, Sacral Vertebrae and 4 Fused Coccygeal Vertebrae. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves which carries impulses to and from the brain, transmitting motor information to muscles, tissues and organs as well as sensory/feeling information.
In patients with SCI spinal cord injury, the damage can result from trauma (such as motor vehicle accidents, work-related injuries, falls, sports injuries, or violence), disease or degeneration. In these cases, the spinal cord is not completely severed but is usually badly bruised or torn and are normally very complex injuries. SCIs may be caused by a trauma to the spinal column or can be the result of compression, inflammation, infections, bleeds, or arthritis.
The prevalence of SCI in the US is about 17,730 new SCI cases each year - not including patients who have perished from their injuries. “The average age at injury has increased from 29 years during the 1970s to 43 years old.” and approximately 78% of SCI cases are male.
SCI is the type of injury with far-reaching ramifications in the life of the patient. The majority of spinal lesions (bruises) occur at the cervical levels of the cord which can result in the disruption of the neuronal pathways. Many patients develop chronic pain which becomes a serious problem for many patients. These patients may have difficulty in performing daily activities and/or participating in enjoyable pastimes. In some cases, the cause of the pain may be unknown as it is often related to nerve damage or musculoskeletal problems. This type of chronic pain can also cause psychological issues such as depression, anxiety and stress.
A person with a spinal cord injury can have various types of pain in different locations. These pain types include:
Neuropathic pain ("neurogenic pain") which is caused by abnormal communication between the damaged nerves and brain. In neuropathic pain, the brain misunderstands signals and patients often feel pain in areas that have no feeling. It is not easy to treat - most of the time, a combination of therapies is prescribed.
Musculoskeletal pain is caused by injuries in the bones, muscles and joints. This pain usually gets worse with movement but better with rest.
Visceral pain is centered in the stomach/abdominal area. It is usually described as a cramping feeling or dull/aching pain. Pain resulting from a visceral problem is sometimes felt in areas away from the injury location - called referred pain.
Since each SCI injury is different, these injuries affect the body in various ways. Effective management of the injury depends upon obtaining an accurate clinical/physical examination and diagnosis of the neurological injury as well as an accurate radiological assessment of the injury.
Though SCI related pain is complicated and difficult to treat, South Florida’s Best Spine Doctors are able to offer expertise in interventional pain therapies that are both low-risk and high-reward. These therapies are compatible with a growing variety of pain sources in both the spine and joints.
Understanding the individual’s pain and working together with the doctor to devise an appropriate treatment plan can help patients manage pain healthfully and improve their quality of life.
In traditional pain management, the standard protocol has often been medication ranging from NSaids to opioids. This reliance on pharmaceutical drugs - especially opioids - has led to addiction, health problems unrelated to spinal cord injuries and very little long-term relief. The priority for interventional pain management is to intervene in the cycle of pain and further block pain from transmitting through the body by using any minimally invasive methodologies at the source of pain.
Some examples of these state-of-the-art treatment methods include:
Spinal Cord Stimulation which sends an electrical current to the source of pain via a small medical device implanted into the body.
Kyphoplasty which is a procedure used to treat these painful compression fractures in the spine. It's a minimally invasive vertebral augmentation surgery.
The Vertiflex Superion Indirect Decompression System Procedure, simply known as Vertiflex, is an innovative, evidence-based treatment for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. The system is designed to relieve spine/back pain by restoring the normal space between the vertebrae.
DRG (Dorsal Root Ganglion) Neurostimulation utilizes an implant to stimulate the DRG on the patient's command. Nerve damage caused by injury, trauma can effectively be treated with DRG Therapy, a safe, stable and consistent pain management program.
Intrathecal Drug Delivery aka the "pain pump," is surgically placed under the abdominal skin and delivers pain medication through a catheter to the area around the spinal cord.
Steroid injections target pain points. Examples include trigger joint, facet joint, and epidural injections.
Infusions are able to deliver pain medication directly to an affected area
Additionally, physical therapy can be prescribed as part of a comprehensive holistic approach to treating spinal cord injury induced pain.
All of these interventional pain therapies offered at Spine and Wellness Centers of America are proven safe and effective for patients. The first step for seeking pain relief from a spinal cord injury is a consultation appointment with a member of SWCA’s specialized and expert team.
Coming up with an individualized and comprehensive plan to combat SCI pain with new, innovative treatments is a prime foundation of what Spine and Wellness Centers of America has to offer. These pain management techniques help patients suffering from spinal cord injury pain returning them to a more fully functional life and routine.
For a full list of treatments and services please visit: www.spinewellnessamerica.com