Spinal Cord Injuries
 
February 24, 2004
 
There are 7 cervical vertebrae, labeled C1 ? C7. There are 12 vertebra in the thoracic spine labeled T1 ? T 12 and 5 vertebrae in the lumbar spine, labeled L1 ? L5. The 5 sacral vertebrae, labeled S1 - S5 are generally fused in adults forming the sacrum. The 4 rudimentary coccygeal vertebrae fuse to form the coccyx. The higher the injury on the spinal column the more affected the person will be.
 
Over 10,000 people experience spinal cord injuries each year. There are over 200,000 people with paralysis of arms, legs or both due to injuries. The leading cause of injury to the spinal nerves occurs from motor vehicle accidents. Acts of violence, falls and sports injury are other methods where spinal cord injuries can occur. Depending on the site of injury a person can experience partial or permanent loss of their upper and/or lower extremities. Incomplete injury can be seen with symptoms as moderate to severe back pain made worse by movement, numbness, tingling, weakness or bowel/bladder dysfunction. Complete spinal cord injuries mean that the spinal cord has absolutely no function below the affected area. This can be seen with total loss of function of the upper and/or lower extremities. Severed or degenerated nerve processes in the cord cannot recover. The damage is permanent.
 
Due to the complex nature of these cases the role of a case manager is crucial. The case manager, with the collaborative process of assessment and planning facilitates options and services the meet the variety of needs of the client. The case managers goal is to obtain optimum value for both the client and the reimbursement agency while dealing with and providing adequate rehabilitation and prevention of long term complications the injured person may face. Contributed by: Bonnie J. Rupke, RN, CLNC, Rupke and Associates, LLC P.O. Box 615 Hays, Kansas 67601 P/F 785.625.4464
 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
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