Living With a Spinal Cord Injury - Life With a Spinal Cord Injury
Grief is one of the many challenges of adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury. It's your reaction to loss, and it affects you both emotionally and physically. But letting your
emotions control you can result in unhealthy decisions and behavior, a longer
rehab, and taking longer to adjust to your spinal cord injury (SCI). Feeling and naming your emotions, and talking to others about them, will help you feel more solid and in control.
Talking to a professional counselor who understands the challenges of living with an SCI can be very helpful during tough times.
Pain in an SCI can be complicated and
confusing. You may feel pain where you have feeling. But you may also feel
pain in an area where otherwise you have no feeling. The pain may be severe at
some times. But at other times it may disappear or bother you only a little.
The most common
type of pain is neuropathic pain, caused by damage to the nervous system. Other types of pain include
musculoskeletal pain (in the bones, muscles, and joints), and visceral pain (in
your pain. Talk to your doctor about it. He or she can help figure out the type
of pain and how to manage it. Also, pain can signal a more serious problem.
best treatment depends on the type
of pain. But you will probably need to:
For more information on managing pain, see the topic
Strength and flexibility
Movement is what
keeps your muscles strong and your joints flexible. So if you cannot move your
muscles and joints easily, you may lose strength and some of your
range of motion. This will make it harder to perform
daily activities, such as getting dressed or moving between your wheelchair and
other locations. With exercise, you can keep or improve your flexibility
muscle spasticity. Exercise can also help prevent heart problems,
high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, and weight problems.
What exercises you can do will
depend on what part of your spinal cord was injured. You may be able to do:
Strength exercises with free weights or weight machines.
part in sports is an excellent way to exercise. And there are often leagues or groups to promote wheelchair
basketball and racing and other activities. Staying active provides both physical and emotional benefits.
Note: Exercise may trigger
autonomic dysreflexia, which can cause sudden very
high blood pressure and headaches. If not treated
promptly and correctly, it may lead to
stroke, and even death. These complications are rare, but it is important to know the
symptoms and watch for them.