Dr. Vijay Janagama
Road traffic accidents have become far more common in the past few decades. Young adults between 19 and 29 are more at risk. According to one estimate, two million people are left with physical disabilities due to accidents.
Road accidents are responsible for 19 per cent of brain injuries and about 40 per cent of spinal cord injuries. Young adults are usually more at risk of such injuries. About 40 per cent of these accidents lead to poor physical and mental status. Rehabilitation experts can help regain bodily functions and gain movements by coping with weakness and paralysis of limbs.
Rehabilitation centres help manage pain through exercise programmes post-trauma that may have occurred due to a road accidents. Many techniques are available these days for managing post-operative pain and discomfort caused by the phantom limb — the sensation that an amputated or missing limb is still attached. Some of the techniques include interferential therapy and TENS (nerve stimulation) therapy powered by electric currents that produce therapeutic effects.
Road accidents are the second leading cause of amputation. Amputation is required if the patient has lost a large amount of soft tissue or any opportunistic infection that occurs within the affected limb causing gangrene that may become fatal if left as it is. Amputation can cause disability and emotional breakdown for a person. A rehabilitation centre helps a person to become mobile again and modify his ways to perform daily activities, making him independent. It also includes psychological rehabilitation so the patient is able to set new goals and lead a life worth living.
Prolonged immobilisation due to fracture, soft tissue injury or many other factors can have serious consequences, including restricted joint movement, weakness and atrophy of muscles, limb swelling, etc. Lower extremity immobilisation may prove fatal due to a condition called deep vein thrombosis in which emboli is formed that may make its way to vital organs like lungs and clog the main artery. Two in 1,000 cases of trauma deep vein thrombosis are observed in the US. Rehabilitation programmes are planned, keeping in mind all complications. Different modalities like suspension beds, etc., are used to slowly make the patient mobile and prevent limb swelling.
It is not abnormal for a person to have negative thoughts after a trauma. Whether will the person be able to walk and perform his activities properly? Will he be able to fulfill his dreams and aspirations? Especially, in cases of amputation and brain injury where the patient may become psychologically weak, psychological rehabilitation plays a crucial role in encouraging the patient to work towards his recovery and goals. The patient is required to stay positive during his treatment period.
If you are a victim of an road accident, it is important to realise the merits of post-hospitalisation rehabilitation centres. Patients can recover faster from traumatic brain or spine injury, manage pain, or deal with the emotional distress of the accident or immobilisation better with the help of a recovery programme at a rehabilitation centre.
Dr Vijay Janagama is Director – New Initiatives, SuVitas Holistic Healthcare. The views expressed are personal.