Emerging Spinal Cord Injury Treatments Focus on Improved Quality of Life
Spinal cord injuries are becoming an epidemic in the United States. Approximately 12,000 injuries occur each year—200 a year in Louisiana alone—in addition to the 300,000 victims who are already living with an SCI throughout the country. On top of this alarming number of victims, the injuries themselves are not only debilitating but they affect every aspect of the victims’ lives—from physical and mental hardships, to financial and societal breakdowns. This is why it’s extremely vital that the medical community continue to study, research, and develop new advanced treatment options, to not only help the injury, but also improve the quality of its victims’ lives.
So, what future treatment options are getting the most focus to help SCI victims?
SCI Treatment Advances Hold Much Promise for the Future
The primary focus of new treatments center around six possible avenues for recovery: medication, function, physical therapy, neurology, stimulation, and regrowth.
- New medications are being tested, studied, and manufactured to help SCI victims on a chemical level.
- Improved mobility devices and more helpful technological advances are being developed to make it easier for SCI victims to function with their disabilities. These include advances such as lightweight wheelchairs and voice activated computers that will perform tasks for you.
- Rigorous physical therapy treatments that explore different aspects of muscular and spinal degeneration and how to build up varying muscle groups.
- Neurological treatments that explore different aspects of how to retain information by repetitive motion and the correlation between synapse and nerve transmissions.
- Electrical stimulation is currently being explored to help control bladder and bowel function as well as breathing and some hand movement.
- Stem cell research has been very lucrative with establishing regrowth of muscles and nerves, which could hopefully, eventually, be used to help repair spinal cord damage at its source.
Within the last 30 years, SCI therapies and treatments have made huge steps that have helped victims regain some control over their lives. Hopefully, the next 30 years will be as equally productive, if not exponentially greater, in developing more advanced treatments, therapies, and perhaps even a cure...fingers crossed!
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