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Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Orthop. Jan 18, 2015; 6(1): 8-16
Published online Jan 18, 2015. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i1.8
Rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries
Kemal Nas, Levent Yazmalar, Volkan Şah, Abdulkadir Aydın, Kadriye Öneş
Kemal Nas, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Sakarya University, Korucuk, Sakarya, 54290 Turkey
Levent Yazmalar, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Dicle University, 21280 Diyarbakir, Turkey
Volkan Şah, Department of Phsyical Treatment and Rehabilitation, Erzincan University Mengucek Gazi Training and Research Hospital, 24100 Erzincan, Turkey
Abdulkadir Aydın, Orthes and Prothes Center, Dicle University, 21280 Diyarbakır, Turkey
Kadriye Öneş, Istanbul Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Research and Training Hospital Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Clinic, 34718 Istanbul, Turkey
Author contributions: Nas K, Yazmalar L and Öneş K contributed to the concept and design; Şah V contributed to the interpretation; Aydın A contributed to the literature review.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Kemal Nas, MD, Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Sakarya University, Korucuk, Sakarya, 54290 Turkey.
Telephone: +90-264-2759192 Fax: +90-264-2759192
Received: February 14, 2014
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.

Keywords: Spinal cord, Injury, Tetraplegia, Paraplegia, Rehabilitation

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.