Living with a Spinal Cord Injury

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Spinal cord injury rehabilitation is a difficult process, but it is designed to help patients emotionally and physically adjust to the new lifestyle changes and challenges they will be faced with. This can include learning to regulate bowel function, using a wheelchair or crutches, and learning how to perform many daily tasks in response to their current abilities.

The goal of spinal injury rehabilitation is to allow patients to lead as normal a life as possible with as little special care as possible, depending on the extent of the injury, rehabilitation may even allow spinal injury patients to regain control of some of the motor skills and other functions that were damaged.

Spinal cord injuries will often leave many patients paralyzed, which has several different challenges:

  • The obvious challenge with paralyzed patients is the lack of mobility they experience, especially since almost every severe spinal cord injury will cause paralysis in the legs.
  • Patients may also experience a loss of control in areas like the arms, chest, and bowelsdepending on where the injury is located and how severe it is.
  • Paralyzed spinal cord injury victims may become aggressive or irritable before they’ve fully adjusted to their new lifestyle. It is important to make sure they are comfortable and emotionally supported.

The goal of spinal cord injury rehabilitation is to try and help the patient regain function in the paralyzed areas if possible (this usually occurs within the first 6 months), and if not, to get them as independent as they can be. The amount of control that can be regained depends on the muscles, the area of the injury, and the severity of the spinal cord injury.