Car accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents often result in spinal cord injuries because the victim is trapped in an enclosed space while the vehicle is in a rapid motion. Even with a seatbelt, the head and neck area can be thrown forward and backward rapidly and the sheer impact of a vehicle colliding with a solid surface or another vehicle can cause permanent injury to the spinal cord.
Spinal cords injuries are an especially devastating injury. Often, they result not only in severe pain but in permanent loss of mobility. This can be overwhelming as it can affect a person’s career, social life, hobbies, income, and everyday life. Even every day tasks such as bathing can become very difficult for a spinal cord injury patient. In many cases, a long rehabilitation is needed as the patient strives to learn to live again with different abilities.
While in the past, many spinal cord patients had to rely mostly on simply re-learning to live life differently, treatment options are being developed at a rapid pace today. Many experimental treatments are now in clinical trial phases or will soon be in trail phases. Some of these treatments involve stem cells or other therapies and some are reportedly very promising. Often, patients are very eager to take part in clinical trials because they see these as a possible solution for their problem. However, patients who are considering clinical trials need to carefully consider their decisions.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury and are considering taking part in a trial for experimental treatments, carefully consider your limits and your goals. Many patients consider experimental treatments to be a solution, but this is not always the case. Experimental treatments are just that – experimental. This is no guarantee that they will work and most come with risks as well. In addition, most clinical trials have random blind testing, which means that some participants in clinical trials experience experimental treatments and some do not, to account for the placebo effects. Taking part in clinical trials, therefore, is no guarantee that you will be getting experimental treatments at all.
Keep in mind, too, that experimental treatments usually have a cost associated with them. You might need to travel to take part in a trial or you may need to answer extensive questions or undergo extensive tests. Consider what you are willing to do to get experimental treatments and what your goals are. Do you hope for a cure? Do you wish to help with research so that other patients may benefit? Would you be upset to learn that you were getting a placebo drug or treatment? Are your expectations of experimental treatments reasonable?
Keep in mind, too, that the dynamics with clinical trials are very different than the dynamics with traditional treatment. You may ask your doctor as many questions as you wish about your treatment, but in a clinical trial researchers are usually very closed-mouthed about the treatment and what exactly is going on. You may need to accept many question marks and unknowns in your treatment. This means that you will need to be emotionally very strong to take part in experimental treatments. You may need the support of family and friends and even a professional counselor while undergoing experimental treatments. In fact, you may wish to discuss your decision with a therapist or counselor as well as your family before you decide on experimental treatments. This can help you decide whether experimental treatments are right for you.