Spinal cord injuries are uncommon in children. Accounting for a mere 1,000 incidents a year, they are representative of only 10% of all cases. Dr Richard Anderson of The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York argues that cases which occur in those children, however, are actually rather severe. For this reason, it’s important to understand the aspects of conditions in children, and also, how to treat those aspects.
For children, the majority of injuries occur in the neck region (cervical spine). This is because of the distinct anatomy of children in this age group. In particular: head size, neck development, and the column of the spine are the reason for the specific nature of this injury. Injury of the spinal cord happens in two stages: first, the extreme force that causes the spinal cord injury. Second, is the response afterwards. While injuries cannot be reversed, medical practitioners can influence the quality of a child’s life when in the second phase. In summary, injury of the spine is built from the time of the event, and experiences after it.
The spine needs to be kept motionless after injury, which prevents further damage. An unstable spinal cord (post-injury), would result in potential fragments being discarded across the body. Keeping the spine motionless, also prevents: inflammatory response, system shock, and immune system failures. Specialists must use a variety of medicines in controlled doses to prevent these occurrences. X-rays are required in the soonest possible moment following damages to children’s spinal cord. This allows the level of the injury to be better understood, as Dr Anderson supports.
Dr Anderson made further arguments that surgery to the spinal cord would be necessary if the spinal cord had not been kept motionless, and had become unstable, after injury. It’s wholly necessary to re-stabilise, and keep motionless, the spinal cord. This being said, all aspects of the child’s size, and biomechanics must be considered. The ongoing development of children in both planning, and surgery are large considerations for medical practitioners. The best approach for specialists who are treating children is to reduce internal instrumentation, and increase external bracing. This enables the best growth, accelerates healing, and only requires yearly follow-ups.
Seven great tips for parents
Epidural Spine Stimulation
Epidural spine stimulation is a breakthrough in treatment of spinal cord injuries. The treatment involves an application of electric currents to the spinal cord via a microchip (in place over the spinal cords protective coating). When activated, the microchip stimulates the senses, and with an appropriate rehabilitation plan, can enable those who are paralysed, or in severe injury, to have basic functions restored.
A common problem for children who have spinal cord injury is that they resist treatment, in trying to maintain self-control. This can lead to complications in recovery, and also, in complications such as: urinary tract infections. It’s therefore important to deter your child in early childhood development (ECD) from resisting treatment.
An increase of this results in a speedy recovery for your child. This refers to the ability to change or mold the body. You will need to work with your medical professional to talk about improving or enhancing the plasticity of your child.
Children who have suffered from spinal cord injury are better suited to undergo neurological recovery as children, instead of as an adult. This is because when they are adults, it’s harder to relive memories which have been overcome. You should not fear suggestions of neurological recovery for your child in ECD.
Encouraging therapies which are both fun and interesting are important for a child’s spinal cord injury treatment. This is because of the importance of accepting growth as the foundation for a child. You should, therefore, seek fun and interesting therapies.
As the need for this is doubles in children compared to adults, it’s important that you ensure enough of this is made available during the treatment of your child’s spinal cord injury.
ECD children as young as 12-18 months of age can easily learn how to use powered mobility machines. This can assist their recovery, and so it’s a final recommendation that you consider this as a recovery option for your child.