November 14, 2016 | 6:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
A spinal cord injury is a potentially life-changing, and even life-threatening experience. We don’t recommend that you attempt to treat it yourself at home, but rather, you should get proper medical attention and treatment. This piece isn’t offering some magical miraculous alternative cure for those terrible injuries. However, there are alternative therapies that can quite effectively treat some of the symptoms and secondary conditions associated with spinal cord injuries.
Acupuncture has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine, and for a long time, it remained on the fringes of medical treatments here in the West. In the last couple of decades though, it has achieved more mainstream acceptance in the western medical community. In particular, it has been found to be extremely effective in the treatment of pain associated with spinal cord injuries. A study conducted in 2003 even suggests that early use of acupuncture to treat acute SCI may lead to significant neurological and functional recovery.
While not, strictly speaking, an alternative therapy, it may not be what one expects as a treatment for a medical condition. Keep in mind that the entire situation of living with a spinal cord injury is often accompanied by feelings of depression and anxiety. These in turn may increase pain levels, and cause a host of other secondary symptoms. Psychotherapy can help one develop valuable coping skills which help one to deal with their condition. It can also help one learn to manage the pain associated with a spinal cord injury. Psychotherapy can also benefit caregivers, who often struggling with the same emotions as the patients they support.
Pressure sores are the annoying, painful, and sometimes genuinely dangerous result of staying in the same position in a wheelchair or bed for long periods of time. In the earliest stages, these are not much more than a skin-level sore. In more advanced stages, open sores can lead to serious infections, and permanent damage to muscle, tendon, and bone tissue. It has been found that in addition to standard treatment, cleaning, and dressing of the wounds, dietary supplements can speed up the healing and closing process. Vitamins C, A, D, E, Zinc, L-arginine and B-complex have been found to be effective in this area.
As if there weren’t enough to worry about already, people with spinal cord injuries tend to be prone to urinary tract infections. Contributing factors may include an already compromised immune system, inability to empty one’s bladder completely, or the introduction of bacteria from catheters. These infections are painful and dangerous, and the standard treatment, antibiotics, is not optimal to use over long periods of time. They can, however, be effectively treating using supplements like cranberry and D-mannose as well as AZO (Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride), all of which are readily available at drugstores.
Reference the comments in the section regarding psychotherapy, above. Meditation is an effective method of dealing with depression and anxiety, and it can also help the body resist disease. It has also been found to help dealing with chronic pain.