Following a spinal injury, immediate attention is given to survival and determining the severity of the injury. However, this is only a very small part of the process; rehabilitation following a spinal injury can take years. The sooner rehabilitation starts after the injury the better; not only will a comprehensive rehabilitation programme work towards repairing damage to muscles, it will also promote independence and improve confidence.
However, there are often roadblocks to starting the rehabilitation process at the appropriate time. Equipment such as the Lokomat - a treadmill used for locomotion therapy - and the Armeo - which is used to improve hand and arm impairment - are often unavailable in NHS hospitals and it can take time to be transferred to a specialist spinal injury unit which is fully equipped for rehabilitation. Many people may need to go private in order to hasten the start the rehabilitation process, but are prevented from doing so because of the high costs that this can entail. Utilising the services of a specialist spinal injury lawyer can provide a solution. In some cases, where there is someone who admits liability for the injury, for example, where there has been a road traffic accident, lawyers are able to secure interim compensation payments before the spinal injury claim is resolved. Interim payments can help pay for private rehabilitation and ensure that the best treatment is received.
A variety of therapies will be offered to people with spinal injuries as part of the rehabilitation process. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and others will all form part of a treatment plan overseen by a specialist consultant. Goals will be set with the patient at the outset of the rehabilitation process and a team specialising in the different areas of therapy will work with the injured person to achieve these goals. Depending on the type and severity of the injury these goals will vary from person to person, with everyone receiving different kinds of treatment during the rehabilitation process. Some people may need assistive devices such as wheelchairs, which will be selected with the help of professionals to ensure that it meets their needs. It is also possible to adapt their living environment to make things easier - lowering work surfaces or putting in ramps. This will again be completed in consultation with the rehabilitation professionals.