Tag Archives: Neurological Disorders

Guest Post: “The Party Never Stops”

By Antonia Sinibaldi, an Ambassador for SPINALpedia

If you are or know someone that is new to SPINALpedia or new to spinal cord injury, this article may answer some of your questions. One amazing thing that comes with having a spinal cord injury is nerve pain. For those of you who do not suffer from any type of neuropathy, you’re missing out on a huge party. And the party gets hotter depending on how severe your injury is. Not everybody can be invited. You have to be a VIP.

Here are it’s definitions:

Neuropathy is a disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.

Neuralgia is intense, typically intermittent pain along the course of a nerve, especially in the head or face.

Peripheral neuropathy is weakness, numbness, and pain from nerve damage, usually in the hands and feet.

I had my accident when I was 2 years old. All I’ve ever known is life with this injury. One thing I notice is that my nerve pain, which causes spasticity, gets worse the older I get. I am not just sensitive to touch, I am also very sensitive to vibration. Vibration bothers me when I am driving in my van more so than at a party or an outing. One way I can describe to you what it is like living with pain and sensitivity is, imagine your body feels like it has ants all over it and those ants have prickles like porcupines. The body is confused and the problem with spinal cord injuries are that the signals in the body are not properly working or being received.

Some people explain this nerve pain as stabbing. There is not just one symptom, or medication to this issue. There is not just one resolution to the problem either. It’s a plethora of options. Exercise is very important for people with spinal cord injury. Think about it this way, the body is trying to move but the signal is not allowing that to happen in the proper way. That’s why exercise is so important. The human body needs to move no matter what. Exercise for me is a double edged sword. When I exercise I spasm and when I don’t exercise I spasm. However spasming after exercising feels better than when I do not exercise. It feels good to move and stretch.

The signal from the nerve pain does not feel as bad after exercising. That is not just me, there are other people with spinal cord injury that have similar results with exercise. Aside from exercise, there are other ways to manage pain. Diet and medication are important for pain management too. There’s food that is good for the nervous system. Trust me, I’ve done my research. I know what I’m talking about. Over exerting the body can increase pain; nerve pain, spasticity, clonus, and rigidity.

I know that the thought of “I can’t do this anymore” comes to mind often when you have a spinal cord injury. No matter how long you have had the injury, it is nearly impossible not to have that thought sometimes. That’s why I am writing about it now. It is not easy to find writings from the patient’s point of view, it is usually the doctors documenting about spinal cord injury.

That is why SPINALpedia is fantastic! All the writings are from people with injuries or close caregivers. It is helpful to hear and read other people’s stories. It really does get better over time.

To read all about Antonia, plus our other Ambassadors, visit our Ambassador page

SCI Superstar: Teri Thorson


Even though she was injured over 15 years ago, you can still see remnants of her “old life” just by looking at her. A former model and go-go dancer, Teri Thorson, a Canadian Paralympian, as well as a fashion designer and mother, is one of the toughest low quads you’ll ever meet.

She’s also not afraid to go deep and talk about how she was able to overcome her dark early days post-injury. A font of awesome advice, check out the story behind one of the strongest women to hail from Canada, Teri Thorson.

Why she’s fearless

Teri’s arrival into the world of spinal cord injuries was definitely an abrupt one.  She was injured in a car accident in Australia with friends while vacationing in 1997. Her friend who was driving was going 87 miles an hour on a gravel road.  When they took a turn, the car flipped three times with the roof landing on her head. She woke up a C7-8 quad, and quickly learned the seriousness of her injuries.

It took her a little bit however to get back into the groove of things, following the great advice of still following your dreams and not getting frustrated. Although she was destined for wheelchair racing, she didn’t get her first racing chair until 2001. At her level of injury, typically competitive wheelchair racing isn’t possible. As she got better though, she couldn’t believe how much stronger she became.

She was able to get rid of her PCA’s entirely, becoming fully independent as a result of her training beginning in 2002. She was also in the Athens Paralympics in 2004, making the 400 m race finals, which is a huge feat for someone with a C7-8 injury. She unfortunately however had to retire early after a wrist injury. At her level, a wrist injury pretty hard to come back from.

So she moved onto her next big goal in life – to become a fashion designer. This was a dream of hers before her injury, and she was determined to make it a reality. In 2007, she launched Normal?, a clothing line for men and women with seated bodies. The line took a brief hiatus the last few years, but is coming back strong. Check out a fashion show of her line from 2011

Another thing Teri has done since retiring is become a motivational speaker, speaking on behalf of the Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion Foundation.  She speaks frequently at schools in her area in Victoria, British Columbia, openly talking about her disability and how she’s able to do everything in life.

What’s next?

In 2009, her life changed again when she became a mother, having a baby boy Lucian at home, with a birthing doula. She was an insistent on having her baby as naturally as possible too, and was able to do completely safely, only needing the help of forceps at the very end. Read more about her amazing birth story on HerScoop

I think the thing I like about Teri the most is the fact she’s been able to get everything she’s wanted in life despite her spinal cord injury; you have to give credit where credit is due. While her life is certainly a little bit slower these days, being a mom does that to you, the impact of her influence on people simply by being who she is has never been stronger.

Visit her site: TeriThorson.com

Have you worn any of Teri’s fashions?

Watch a video of Teri

BC Paraplegic Association – Teri Thorson talks about working post-injury

Enhanced by Zemanta