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Early Rehabilitation Could Help Spinal Cord Patients Recover

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

According to a study, early physical rehabilitation could be a key to helping patients with spinal cord injuries recover some functions. The research was presented at the annual meeting in Sacramento, California of the Association of Academic Physiatrists on Feb. 18.

For the study, researchers examined the cases of approximately 4,000 Americans who suffered a spinal cord injury between the years of 2000 and 2014. The patients began therapy an average of 19 days after their injury, and their average age was 41 years. Researchers found that patients who began early rehabilitation experienced better physical functioning outcomes after they left the hospital and over the next year.

The authors of the study believe that their findings show that, for the best results, spinal cord patients should begin inpatient rehabilitation at the earliest medically-approved opportunity. However, the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, so it may be considered preliminary.

Every year, approximately 12,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries in car crashes, workplace accidents and other unfortunate incidents. Even with early rehabilitation, many spinal cord patients never recover full function and require long-term medical care for a permanent disability. When the injury was the result of the negligence of another party, the injured victim might want to pursue personal injury litigation. With the help of an attorney, a personal injury lawsuit could result in an award of damages that could provide needed compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other applicable damages if negligence can be established to the satisfaction of the judge or jury.

Source: WebMD, "Early Rehab May Help Spinal Cord Injury Patients," Robert Preidt, Feb. 19, 2016