Most patients with a spinal cord injury are treated in the intensive care unit. Depending on the resources of the hospital and the injury's severity, patients might be transferred to a spine injury center. Once the patient is stabilized, one of the first lines of treatment is medication. In the past, intravenous methylprednisolone was used in the first eight hours following a spinal cord injury to help reduce inflammation. However, there have been recent studies indicating the medication can cause pneumonia and blood clots, which has led to the medication being used less as a standard treatment following a spinal cord injury. Some practitioners may decide the benefits outweigh the risks if there's significant observable swelling and inflammation. During the recovery process, certain secondary conditions might develop. Chronic pain can be managed with painkillers. Patients commonly experience depression, which can be treated with antidepressants.
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