What happens after a spinal cord injury? continued...
As soon as
you are stable, rehabilitation (rehab) starts. The goal of rehab is to help
prepare you for life after rehab and help you be as independent as possible.
What happens in rehab depends on your level of injury. The rehab team will help
you to learn how to:
- Prevent problems like
pressure sores and know when you need to call a
- Exercise to keep your muscles strong and flexible.
- Eat a balanced diet to help you stay healthy and manage your
- Learn to do things that most people do without thinking, such
as managing your bladder and bowel.
- Use a wheelchair or other devices so you can do things you
There is a lot to learn, and it may seem overwhelming at
times. But with practice and support, it will get easier.
What is life like with a spinal cord injury?
Having a spinal cord injury changes some things forever, but you can
still have a full and rewarding life. A saying among people who have a spinal
cord injury is, "Before your injury, you could do 10,000 things. Now you can do
9,000. So are you going to worry about the 1,000 things you can't do or focus on the 9,000 things you can do?"
After they adjust, many people with
spinal cord injuries are able to work, drive, play sports, and have
relationships and families. Your rehab team can provide the support, training,
and resources to help you move toward new goals. It's up to you to make the
most of what they have to offer.
Adapting to life with a spinal
cord injury can be tough. You can expect to feel sad or angry at times or to
grieve for your lost abilities. It is important to express these feelings so
they don't keep you from moving ahead. Talk with family and friends, find a
support group, or connect with others online. Talking to other people who have
spinal cord injuries can be a big help.
It's hard to enjoy life
if you have ongoing pain or depression. If you do, tell your doctor. There are
medicines and other treatments that can help.
Caring for a person
who has a spinal cord injury can be both rewarding and difficult. If you help take
care of someone who has a spinal cord injury, don't forget to take care of
yourself too. Find a local support group, and make time to do things you enjoy.