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New progress made in spinal cord injury treatment

New Jersey residents who have back injuries can face a long and difficult path of rehabilitation. The typical spinal cord injury can lead to chronic pain, limited mobility or even paralysis. After a car crash or personal injury like a slip-and-fall, the route back to health can be very expensive. The cost of rehabilitation is higher than many other injuries because of the long-term care that is needed. There is hope for more recoveries as technology in spinal cord injuries is improving.

Recently, technological advancements have led to artificial limbs that can be controlled by brain waves and lighter robotic walking machines that are easier to maneuver. One of these new developments, locomotor treatment, involves reinforcing walking mobility by teaching patients' spinal cords to control movement. One patient who broke 10 ribs and his back during a ski vacation was able to move his big toe during one of his rehab appointments. The doctors said that his progression of movement would take up to two years as his body recovers.

One of the difficulties with the advancements of technology in long-term care is finding compensation for the long-term care necessary for rehab. Limits of current walking devices are expected to decrease in price over the next decade, but the costs are still high now. Many walking machines are expected to allow users to walk uneven terrain and even the possibility of wheelchairs that respond to voice commands. Finding a way to pay for that today can be a difficult minefield for New Jersey residents.

Back injury claims are a long and complicated process. Advancements will continue to happen and costs will go down for new technologies, but few can prepare for the costs of long-term medical care involving therapists, doctors and out-patient care. If a spinal cord injury is the result of some form of negligence, individuals can seek out compensation for their long-term care. New technology is helping more people to be mobile than ever before after devastating back injuries. The advancements in physical therapy are a fundamental part of getting improved functioning.

Source: Denver Post, "New technologies promise advancements in treatment for spinal-cord injuries," Michael Booth, Oct. 30, 2013

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