No products in the cart.

No products in the cart.

Methylprednisolone for Spinal Cord Injury: Do Its Benefits Outweigh Its Risks?

using methylprednisolone for spinal cord injury

The use of the corticosteroid methylprednisolone for spinal cord injury was widely accepted and considered the standard of care for a long time.

However, its use has become very controversial over time.

To help you decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks or not, this article will go over the pros and cons of using methylprednisolone for spinal cord injury.

Methylprednisolone for Spinal Cord Injury

methylprednisolone for spinal cord injury

Methylprednisolone has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling.

After a spinal cord injury, it is crucial to stabilize the spinal cord as quickly as possible to minimize the amount of damage.

There are 2 types of damage that can occur after a spinal cord injury: primary and secondary.

Primary damage is caused by the traumatic event that compresses the spinal cord. Secondary damage is caused by how your body reacts to the primary damage.

For example, if you get into a car accident, the primary damage consists of the immediate outcomes of the impact. Secondary damage is what happens as your body reacts to the primary damage. It can include swelling, reduced blood flow, excitotoxicity, and scarring.

Primary damage is instantaneous and cannot be reduced, but secondary damage can.

It suggested that high doses of methylprednisolone within 8 hours following a spinal cord injury can help promote neurologic recovery and minimize secondary damage.

Controversy Surrounding Methylprednisolone for Acute Spinal Cord Injury

methylprednisolone sci controversy

Methylprednisolone was widely accepted and considered the standard of care for acute spinal cord injuries; however, its use has become controversial over time.

In the 2002 Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute SCI, methylprednisolone-use was recommended. However, in the 2013 update, the recommendation was against methylprednisolone use, even though evidence has not changed much.

Those in favor of methylprednisolone-use argue that spinal cord injuries are extremely time-sensitive, and every bit of treatment can help maximize outcomes.

In contrast, physicians against methylprednisolone-use argue that the benefits are moderate at best and do not outweigh the risks.

Side Effects of Methylprednisolone

side effects methylprednisolone steroid

So what exactly are the risks associated with methylprednisolone?

Side effects of methylprednisolone include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • Steroid-induced myopathy
  • All-cause mortality

These are very serious complications that can develop after using methylprednisolone, which is why use of the corticosteroid has been drastically reduced throughout the years.

Do the Benefits of Methylprednisolone Outweigh Its Risks?

stabilizing spinal cord with methylprednisolone

A 2016 study found that SCI patients were in favor of methylprednisolone use. Even after learning about its dangerous side effects, many believed that the potential to achieve even the slightest bit of neurological recovery was worth it.

Ultimately, the use of methylprednisolone is up to the physician and should be discussed with the patient.

However, there are times when the patient is unconscious and the physician must act at their own discretion.

Now that you’re aware of the pros and cons of using methylprednisolone for acute spinal cord injury, do you think its benefits outweigh its risks?

Keep it going: Get 15 pages of rehab exercises for SCI recovery in our FREE ebook

exercise ebook cover for spinal cord injury with example pages

Get instant access to our free exercise ebook for SCI survivors. If you liked this post, you’ll LOVE our emails and ebook.

Each exercise features pictures of a licensed therapist to help guide you. You’ll also receive our popular recovery emails with SCI survivor stories and other useful tips — you can opt out anytime.

We will never sell your email address, and we never spam.

More Ways to Recover with Flint Rehab:

Download Free SCI Rehab Exercises

exercise ebook cover for spinal cord injury with example pages

Discover Award-Winning Neurorehab Tools

You're on a Roll: Read More Popular Articles on SCI Recovery

Do you want to improve mobility after a spinal cord injury?

Depending on the severity of your spinal cord injury, there may be hope for improved mobility. Consistent at-home therapy is key to making this happen.

That’s why Flint Rehab created FitMi, a motion-sensing, gamified home recovery tool designed for neurological injury like SCI.

Here’s what others have said about it:

Say bye-bye to your Physiotherapist

“I purchased this wonderful equipment for the use of spasticity for my right hand. Initially I wasn’t sure if it would work because of the various treatments I tried and also many physiotherapists who tried their level best, but didn’t achieve any positive results.

However after trying FitMi, I could feel that slowly and steadily I am improving. It’s really a great device that minutely takes care of each and every muscle of your affected body part. The biggest plus point is, you can use this device anywhere, anytime with precise exercises that you need and also saves your money and time spent on your physiotherapist.

— Chandrakiran

It’s all about high repetition of therapeutic exercises

FitMi works by encouraging you to practice rehab exercises with high repetition. On average, survivors complete hundreds of repetitions per half hour session.

“Massed practice” like this helps stimulate and rewire the nervous system. While you can achieve massed practice with a written sheet of exercises, it can be tough to stick with it consistently — and consistency is key to recovery.

FitMi helps transform rehab exercises into an engaging, interactive experience. The yellow and blue “pucks” track your movement and provide feedback. All of this comes together for a motivating home therapy program.

A survivor named Tom put it perfectly:

“I believe this device will help me concentrate on making the repetitive actions needed to obtain further movement range in my wrist and hand and arm and therefore rating it with five stars. My occupational therapist recommended to give this a try. I have been using FitMi for just a few weeks. I feel more at ease in flexing.”

If you’d like to learn more about FitMi, click the button below:

ebook with fanned out pages, titled "Rehab Exercises for Spinal Cord Injury Patients"

Do you have this 15 pages PDF of SCI rehab exercises?

Get a free copy of our ebook Rehab Exercises for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery. Click here to get instant access.