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How to recover quickly from a spinal injury


This article is co-written by Jasper Sidhu, DC. Dr. Sidhu is a chiropractor from Toronto with over 20 years experience. He received a diploma from the Canadian Memorial College of Chiropractic in 1994, then completed a three-year certification course in rehabilitation.

The number of sources used in this article is 16. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

If for any reason you hurt your back, recovery can be quite a difficult and painstaking process. Nevertheless, you will provide everything you need for a full recovery, if you make the appropriate changes in your lifestyle, devote enough time to rest and receive appropriate medical care. If the pain does not subside or your condition does not improve shortly after receiving the damage, you should consult a doctor who will make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Assess the nature of the injury

If the back of the brain has received minor injuries, then a complete restoration of health is possible. With a rupture of tissues in most cases, immobilization of the limbs, loss of sensation occurs. Recovery therapy is prescribed depending on the nature of the injuries.

With mild trauma, the patient is prescribed medication, massage, physical therapy, physiotherapy. All these measures are aimed at restoring motor function, at adapting a person and returning him to his usual rhythm of life. A spa holiday also benefits these patients. After a fracture of the spine, rehabilitation takes from 4 weeks to 6 months.

The rehabilitation period is rather difficult. Every day, the load needs to be increased, thereby restoring the support and strength functions of the spine.

Another group of patients is patients who have suffered an injury of the lumbar spine. This injury is considered moderate. Here, the main goal is to restore patients' ability to self-care, independence from outside help. Physiotherapy exercises, massages, acupuncture and medication help patients to rehabilitate partially after a year or a half. Most often, a person is not able to return to his former life due to the inability to completely restore physical health.

It is necessary to constantly be monitored by a doctor so that he monitors the dynamics of the recovery process. The main thing is not to aggravate the situation and not harm yourself.

Belief in one's own strength and the belief that the disease will soon pass away will help to quickly return to life. Once in a difficult situation, you can not despair, you need to fight for your existence by all means. There are many methods that have helped hopeless patients get out of wheelchairs. It is important to find a good doctor who will direct you in the right direction and select an individual technique for rehabilitation therapy.

Improving physical education

Exercise therapy is prescribed to patients in the first days after an injury. Bed rest leads to stagnation of blood flow. Thus, damaged areas of the spine do not receive nutrients, and the recovery process slows down. Physical exercises have a beneficial effect on the whole body, accelerate metabolic processes, improve the patient’s general well-being, and increase immunity. The body is struggling hard with trauma, trying to restore the functions of the spine lost with trauma.

Rehabilitation Therapy Approaches

A feature of the rehabilitation of patients with spinal injuries is the patient’s serious condition, which often limits his ability to take an active part in recovery activities. Doctors often have to, with the use of methods aimed at stimulating the central and peripheral nervous system, deal with complications. They are caused by a patient's prolonged stationary position: muscle atrophy, general weakness, impaired functioning of internal organs, and so on. Despite the fact that in the first days after receiving an injury, the patient is often prohibited from moving, rehabilitation measures should be started as early as possible (in agreement with the treating neurologist and neurosurgeon). We are talking about rehabilitation methods and actions aimed at increasing the vitality and morale of the victim, that is, about the beginning of the patient's activation.

How to choose a rehabilitation center after a back injury?

The success of recovery from spinal injuries depends on the overall efforts of the patient himself, his relatives and specialists of the rehabilitation center. The rehabilitation doctors of the Three Sisters Center told us about their work:

“In order to avoid the severe consequences of spinal injury, recovery is necessary in a medical institution, combining an individual approach to the patient with daily active therapy. At our center, at least five specialists work with patients who have suffered spinal injuries: a rehabilitation doctor, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a neuropsychologist, and a massage therapist. The daily routine includes classes in the pool. “Three Sisters” provide their patients with comfortable wards with special furniture, gyms, medicines and procedures, if necessary, attract specialists of a narrow profile. The cost of the rehabilitation course is fixed, the center operates on an all-inclusive basis. Thus, the patient and his family can not worry about sudden additional costs and completely focus on the course of medical rehabilitation. Patients can be visited daily from 9 to 21 hours, accommodation of one relative or guest in the ward can also be arranged. One of our most important tasks is to provide patients with not only the right loads and regular exercises, but also to create a healthy psycho-emotional background throughout the course of medical rehabilitation. ”

When to start recovery workouts

Getting injured involves a series of recovery steps that go in strict sequence:

  1. professional medical examination after creating immobility of the injured area and medical intervention (if necessary),
  2. passive rehabilitation - a period including the implementation of a set of recommendations by a traumatologist, which are aimed at restoring the damaged area,
  3. rehabilitation training implying two sub-steps: a return to the “zero” level of physical fitness characteristic of any healthy untrained person, and work aimed at restoring the results that were available before the injury.

First two stages - This is the patrimony of professional physicians, whose knowledge and available diagnostic capabilities cannot be neglected in any case, if the injured person is really interested in a full and high-quality cure that will allow him to return to full training over time.

The third stage - restorative training after obtaining permission from a doctor largely depends on the athlete.

All of the above applies to injuries "in general." To recover from back injuries, there are nuances, whether it is damage to the tendons, ligaments or vertebral discs.

Recovery exercises after a back injury

There are a great variety of possible traumatic factors and the adverse effects caused by them - from minor to very severe. But, based on the fact that the athlete has already overcome medical rehabilitation and received admission to physical fitness classes, you need to draw up a plan according to which classes will be held that do not mean the usual hard training aimed at sports results.

Post-Trauma Recovery Plan

Firstly it is necessary to review or form again (if the injury was severe) "motor habits" that involve, one way or another, the spinal column in movement. It is possible that in the past it was precisely the inability to take care of the spinal skeleton that caused the injury.

Secondly, at this stage, no less importance is given to strengthening the paravertebral muscles, which create a natural “stiffness” corset for the spine. Undoubtedly, those exercises that do not bear a compressive load (compression), but create a “natural” load vector for the entire skeleton, are best suited for this. This load vector allows the spinal column to again become a “whole”, and not divided into separate departments: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, which creates pathological stress at individual points.

Thirdly, it must be understood that it is possible to transfer to the introduction of existing skills in classical traction exercises on the back only after the formation of the correct motor habits (in other words, after acquiring a certain skill of “meaningful” reproduction of them) and the primary strengthening of the stiffness corset formed by the paravertebral muscles. It is clear that the preference for the first time should be given to those exercises that do not create an excessive load on the spine. These include those that are performed in the following positions: lying, reclining, half-hanging, vis and their variations. Vertical compressive load is not permissible.

The first exercise is the alignment of the spinal column

The goal of this exercise is to align the spine. It is carried out, standing against the wall. Heels should be pressed against the wall. Also, the sacrum, shoulder blades, and the back of the head should be pressed against it (in some cases, the exercise is performed while lying on the floor). Hands hang down on the sides.

Having taken a starting position, it is additionally necessary:

  1. tighten the muscles of the buttocks, and the coccyx slightly up and forward, without changing the position of the nape, shoulder blades, heels, sacrum (they are still pressed against the wall / floor),
  2. keeping the pelvis in this position, feed the rib cage slightly up and forward (as if protruding chest). In this case, the chin should fall into the fossa between the collarbones (subjugal). Once again, it is necessary to verify that the heel, sacrum, shoulder blades, nape are on the same vertical line and are pressed against the wall.

It takes several minutes to stand in this position in order to feel the whole body from bottom to top: feet, pelvis, chest and chin. Having achieved a sense of "integrity", you need to smoothly separate from the wall, taking a step forward, and repeat the alignment procedure. This exercise helps to restore and build proper posture skills. Despite its apparent simplicity, it requires patience and attention, and all its nuances are important for subsequent exercises.

The second exercise - knee lifts

The initial version (lite) is also performed standing against the wall. But, the feet from her (in contrast to the exercises of the previous one) are fifteen to twenty centimeters distant. The nape, shoulder blades and sacrum are still firmly pressed against the wall. Alternately pull your knees to your stomach. Raising the knee, hold it with both hands in the upper position, and then gradually lower it.

The essence of the exercise is similar to the previous one:

  1. the sacrum when raising the knee must be slightly forward and upward,
  2. pulling the knee with his hands to his stomach, the chest rises slightly forward and upward. At the same time, the chin falls into the subjugular fossa.

Hold on a position for two to three seconds. Total lifts-holds need to be done 5-15 on each leg. Depending on their well-being, each individually selects the number of repetitions. But, more than four approaches do not need to be done.

During classes three to four times a week, the technique of movements against the wall can be mastered in one to three weeks, after which it is time to proceed to the exercises in the hang on special press-bars or the crossbar. You can also perform exercises on an inclined plane: tighten the knees (one and two at a time). The main emphasis should be placed on the removal of the sacrum forward, a slight rise forward of the chest and lowering the chin.

The number of repetitions is the same: from one to four approaches, including five to fifteen repetitions. At the same time, it is better to perform them in smaller quantities, but with high quality. All movements should serve a single purpose - the collection of a "single whole" of the spine. If, during training on the crossbar or press bars, this feeling is lost, “refresh your memory” by returning to the wall. Do not forget that in the recovery period the goal is not to pump up the press, but to learn how to align and control the core. These things are fundamentally different.