Published online Jan 18, 2015. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i1.8
Peer-review started: February 14, 2014
First decision: April 4, 2014
Revised: May 24, 2014
Accepted: June 14, 2014
Article in press: June 16, 2014
Published online: January 18, 2015
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is the injury of the spinal cord from the foramen magnum to the cauda equina which occurs as a result of compulsion, incision or contusion. The most common causes of SCI in the world are traffic accidents, gunshot injuries, knife injuries, falls and sports injuries. There is a strong relationship between functional status and whether the injury is complete or not complete, as well as the level of the injury. The results of SCI bring not only damage to independence and physical function, but also include many complications from the injury. Neurogenic bladder and bowel, urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, orthostatic hypotension, fractures, deep vein thrombosis, spasticity, autonomic dysreflexia, pulmonary and cardiovascular problems, and depressive disorders are frequent complications after SCI. SCI leads to serious disability in the patient resulting in the loss of work, which brings psychosocial and economic problems. The treatment and rehabilitation period is long, expensive and exhausting in SCI. Whether complete or incomplete, SCI rehabilitation is a long process that requires patience and motivation of the patient and relatives. Early rehabilitation is important to prevent joint contractures and the loss of muscle strength, conservation of bone density, and to ensure normal functioning of the respiratory and digestive system. An interdisciplinary approach is essential in rehabilitation in SCI, as in the other types of rehabilitation. The team is led by a physiatrist and consists of the patients’ family, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, dietician, psychologist, speech therapist, social worker and other consultant specialists as necessary.
Core tip: Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to serious disability and complications. The treatment and rehabilitation process of SCI is long, expensive and requires a multidisciplinary approach. Early rehabilitation is important to prevent disability and complications.