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Living With a Spinal Cord Injury - Rehabilitation

As soon as you are stabilized after your spinal cord injury (SCI), your transition into rehabilitation (rehab) begins. The initial focus of rehab is to prevent complications related to your SCI and for you to relearn how to do daily functions, sometimes by using different muscle groups.

Rehab centers help you adjust—physically and emotionally—to life with less mobility and feeling than you previously had. What rehab does depends on which part of your spine was injured. Rehab can include learning how to:

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  • Prevent complications related to your spinal cord injury by managing bowel and bladder function and building strength, endurance, and flexibility. You may also learn how to handle problems such as pressure sores, urinary tract infections, and muscle spasticity.
  • Do daily tasks, such as cook, brush your teeth, and move from a wheelchair to a bed or chair.
  • Prepare for life after rehab by learning to cope with your feelings, communicate your needs, and be physically and emotionally intimate.

Rehab centers

Rehab for an SCI generally takes place in a special center. You and your family work with a rehab team, which includes your doctor, rehab nurses, and specialists such as physical and occupational therapists. Your rehab team designs a unique plan for your recovery that will help you recover as much function as possible, prevent complications, and help you live as independently as possible.

Choosing the right rehab center is important. Be sure that you choose one that meets your specific needs. Before choosing a rehab center, ask questions about its staff, accreditation, and activities, and how it transitions you back into your community.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 07, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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