As soon as you are stabilized after
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.
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:
Jessica Levin never gets lost. "I have a weirdly good sense of direction," says the 33-year-old president of a marketing company in Edison, N.J. "If I've been to a place before, even 10 or 20 years earlier, I can go back and know how to get around."
People like Levin don't have an innate sense of direction. What they do have is outstanding recognition and spatial memory: that is, the parts of the memory that record aspects of their environment and where those aspects are in relation to each oth...
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 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
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
Choosing the right rehab center is important. Be sure
that you choose one that meets your specific needs. Before choosing a rehab
ask questions about its staff, accreditation, and activities, and how it
transitions you back into your community.