Rehabilitating Life

Spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries
Classification and external resources

View of the vertebral column and spinal cord
ICD-10 G95.9, T09.3
DiseasesDB 12327 29466
MedlinePlus 001066 000029
eMedicine emerg/553 neuro/711 pmr/182 pmr/183 orthoped/425
MeSH D013119
A spinal cord injury (SCI) refers to any injury to the spinal cord that is caused by trauma instead of disease.[1] Depending on where the spinal cord and nerve roots are damaged, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain to paralysis to incontinence.[2][3] Spinal cord injuries are described at various levels of “incomplete”, which can vary from having no effect on the patient to a “complete” injury which means a total loss of function.

Treatment of spinal cord injuries starts with restraining the spine and controlling inflammation to prevent further damage. The actual treatment can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the injury. In many cases, spinal cord injuries require substantial physical therapy and rehabilitation, especially if the patient’s injury interferes with activities of daily life.

Spinal cord injuries have many causes, but are typically associated with major trauma from motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, and violence. Research into treatments for spinal cord injuries includes controlled hypothermia and stem cells, though many treatments have not been studied thoroughly and very little new research has been implemented in standard care.

Redefining Quality of Life, Patient by Patient.

Dr. Dennis Matthews
Dennis J. Matthews, MD

Fischahs Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation
Medical Director, Children’s Hospital Colorado Rehabilitation Center
Children’s Hospital Colorado

Professor and Chairman
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine

Children’s Hospital Colorado – A Top Program
When Dr. Dennis Matthews, who is prone to modesty and has a mischievous sense of humor, pauses before saying, “Today we are the best rehabilitation facility for kids. Our gait lab is the most advanced in the country, and all of our programs together place us easily among the top three in the country,” you know it must be true. While part of his emphasis is on “today,” there are specific features that make our physical medicine and rehabilitation program very unique.
A program just for kids
First, unlike adult patients, kids grow and change all the time. “It goes beyond having the right-sized equipment for the smallest infant on up. Children grow and change so quickly. They need a program that takes continual growth and change into account. What works today might not work tomorrow.”
Here at Children’s Hospital Colorado, each patient receives a personalized program that alters and adapts to every age and stage, providing the best fit to each individual child.
A staff just for kids
Staffing is different, too, Dr. Matthews says. “Our staff is excellent, and, just as important, they’re pediatric specialists.” Working with kids expands your job description, says Dr. Matthews.
For example, “our staff works with the entire family and, equally important, the patient’s school. We’re very good at helping schools integrate our kids into the system.”
What’s more, among the staff, Dr. Matthews sees a long-term dedication to each patient and a special bond that’s hard to find at an adult facility—or even at other pediatric programs.
Advancing the field
In a field where patients must fight hard for small gains and cures are largely non-existent, Dr. Matthews describes his specialty as, “not as exciting as most other areas of medicine.” A thought with which his patients, their families and referring physicians would surely disagree.
Dr. Matthews’ work demands utter resolve and endless tenacity, combined with the ability to achieve even the smallest gains and view them as the genesis of life-altering change. “For most of my patients, there is no cure or quick fixes. But with hard work and dedication, incremental progress can radically improve their lives. We are redefining quality of life, patient by patient.”
Unmatched experience
Dr. Matthews has set the worldwide standard in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is one of only 150 U.S. doctors in his specialty, and, as a top doctor in his field, has trained over a quarter of his U.S. colleagues and more than 20 international fellows. He currently chairs Children’s Hospital Colorado Rehabilitation Center, which sees more than 4,500 pediatric patients annually with acquired or congenital disabilities.
Dr. Matthews earned his medical degree at the University of Colorado at Denver and completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at The University of Minnesota. He is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and Neuromuscular Medicine. His current studies—on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, neuromuscular diseases and spasticity management—focus on promising areas and will further his goal of making life better in every way for each child and family he treats.

At the time of my accident there was only one place in the whole country that had the ability to rehab a 6 year old kid with a C1 C2 spinal cord injury to make it clear on just what that is, my spinal cord was snapped at the base of my skull leaving me paralyzed from the neck down, so I had to move to Denver Colorado to begin my rehab it took 7 months to get my life back on track and this is because of a fine and awesome medical staff of Denver children’s hospital, now known as the aurora children’s hospital. Those folks taught me how to be a regular person regardless of the wheel chair, they rehabilitated my life. It is sad to say that here we are in the 21st century and there is not too many more places that can say that they specialize in spinal cord injuries, for some odd reason spinal cord injuries just don’t seem to cross the mind of people in our society until the problem hits close to home, it shouldn’t have to be this way and through my blog I hope to make enough noise that would make people pay attention, I am not trying to create controversy I am just trying to create awareness, I am not looking for a handout I am just looking for a hand.