Introduction to Living with a New SCI

A spinal cord injury can turn your life upside-down. A spinal cord injury can take you from running around not worried about a thing, to being in a wheelchair unable to walk. It’s a hard adjustment that takes a lot of time to get used to.

We highly recommend checking out this list of SCI grants to help pay for expenses related to your injury. Many invaluable grant resources are available. Check out the list: https://askus-resource-center.unitedspinal.org/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=2971

Why is a tear or a bruise to the spinal cord so serious? The reason is simple: the spinal cord can’t fix itself. Unlike a broken bone, a hurt spinal cord does not get better. Like an amputated arm, a spinal cord cannot grow back. Doctors and researchers, however, are working hard to figure out a way to heal spinal cord injuries. They’re getting close, but still have a ways to go.

Here are all the ways a body can change when a spinal cord injury occurs:

  • You no longer move certain parts of your body
  • You no longer feel certain parts of your body
  • You no longer feel when you have to go to the bathroom
  • You may also have a hard time coughing or breathing
  • Your entire body may feel the effects of the injury
  • Most people with SCIs have to use wheelchairs

You may be wondering, why are some people with spinal cord injuries unable to move anything while others can move their arms, but not their legs? It all depends on where someone’s spinal cord injury occurs. The higher an injury is on your spinal cord (or the closer the injury is to your head), the more severe the injury tends to be. And the lower your injury is, the less symptoms you will experience.

Will Your Life Be the Same?

It can be shocking to first sustain a spinal cord injury. Many people report feeling in a fog post-injury, feeling overwhelmed by their new condition. While life is not the same after most spinal cord injuries, even for those who walk again, you can find a new normal that you will hopefully embrace. No one is ever thrilled to be paralyzed, but many figure out ways to move forward by finding new goals to motivate them. Going home post-injury can be an incredibly difficult transition, but with the proper preparation (the right wheelchair, an accessible home, and caregivers), this can be conquered.

What Can You Do Right Now

Staying healthy and positive are the best two things you can do while the world waits for new treatments that restore mobility and sensation after a spinal cord injury. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, get a standing frame (and use it), exercise regularly, find a new life passion, and most importantly, don’t put your life on hold while you wait for a cure. Returning to work and school post-injury can do wonders for you as well, helping you feel like a productive member of society.

Also, make sure you do skin-checks daily, as pressure sores commonly develop during the first year post-injury due to not having the right knowledge of paralysis skincare and proper seating. Practicing your daily range of motion right away is also critical to avoiding stiffness from not walking and moving.

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SPINALpedia

SPINALpedia
Spinal Cord Injury
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Bethesda MD  20814
Phone Number: +1 703-795-5711
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