When you first sustain a spinal cord injury, it is quite common to feel lost. Your world has been turned upside down, your body and function has completely changed, and it’s likely that you are stuck in the hospital for the immediate future. Adjusting to life right after your accident is by far one of the toughest parts of living life with a spinal cord injury.
However, living with a spinal cord injury does not mean you have to suffer. When you are educated with the proper information and facts about SCI, you can tackle your injury and have hope for a better future. Read below for the most important, empowering information to know after newly sustaining a spinal cord injury.
Do You Feel Like You’re Floating?
One of the hardest parts about a new spinal cord injury is feeling comfortable in your body. It is very unnerving to be paralyzed, especially when the paralysis is new. For those with higher injuries who have no feeling in their arms or legs, it is common to feel like they are “floating” because they have lost so much sensation. There are many ways to combat this uncomfortable feeling right from your hospital bed, such as practicing adaptive yoga to completing mental exercises.
Don’t Be Afraid
The trauma of a new spinal cord injury can be quite severe, and many people tend to experience anxiety and depression after their injuries. One of the most common feelings after a spinal cord injury is fear: fear of their future, fear of their finances, fear of their romantic life, fear of almost everything. However, there is no need to be afraid! Thanks to exciting advancements in spinal cord injury research, along with awesome communities of people with spinal cord injuries on social media and different platforms, the future is brighter than ever for those living with SCI.
Use Smart Technology Right Away
Technology can change the lives of people with spinal cord injuries for the better, and for those with new injuries who are still in the hospital, technology can be especi7ally helpful in a hospital room. You can use technology to entertain yourself during breaks in appointments and therapies; you can also integrate smart technology right in your hospital room, such as an Amazon Alexa, to help you be as independent as possible in the beginning stages of your injury. Click here for more tech advice for people with spinal cord injuries.
Bodily DANGER: Autonomic Dysreflexia
As someone with a new spinal cord injury, you will need to educate yourself right away on autonomic dysreflexia. This is a life threatening condition that can happen to people with spinal cord injuries, typically to people with injuries at the T6 level and above. If the body experiences any kind of pain below the level of injury, you may experience a headache and elevated blood pressure that can lead to a stroke if the pain is not taken care of. There is a card for your wallet you can print out for free from the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation about Autonomic Dysreflexia and how you can prevent this condition. Click here to download.
Respect Thy Skin
After sustaining a spinal cord injury, you must always be aware of your skin and the pressure you are putting on it. Ask your nursing staff for pressure release advice right away, and make sure to inquire about proper seating for your wheelchair ASAP to prevent pressure sores. Unfortunately, many people experience their first pressure sore in the first few months of their injury.
You Are Not Alone
Social media and the internet are a godsend to anyone with a new spinal cord injury. The Internet is a great place to find people who are experiencing similar situations to yours, and this is especially true for a spinal cord injury. Try searching on Instagram with the hashtags #spinalcordinjury, #wheelchair, #quadriplegic, etc.
We hope this article helps you in your journey of adjusting to life with a new spinal cord injury. Just remember: the overwhelming feeling of a new spinal cord injury does indeed pass, and life gets better as the months and years go by. A positive outlook and mindset can do wonders for you, so stay positive and remember that there is a large community of people with paralysis out there who understand exactly what you are going through.