Steps to Help Ease Living With A Spinal Cord Injury
No one plans a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). However, with 12,500 new SCI cases each year, we want to give some advice on what to expect when a serious injury makes living with a spinal cord injury a reality. Suffering a spinal cord injury may mean that certain thing in your daily life will change. However, it does not mean you should let an SCI limit your happiness. Consider the following points that can greatly have an impact on how living with a spinal cord injury will affect you.
It is truly devastating when someone else’s negligence causes us harm. It is especially devastating if the harm caused is something that the victim has to live with for a prolonged period, possibly for the rest of their life. A spinal cord injury is one of these catastrophic injuries.
This is the first, and perhaps, the hardest step to overcome as an individual living with an SCI. It is normal for a patient to feel that their injury has turned their life upside down. For example, they may no longer be able to do as many physical activities as they once did. This is a difficult thing to accept. However, acceptance is also one of the most important factors in restoring your life.
Once you come to terms with your injury, you will not let an SCI determine your enjoyment of life. In addition, you may find passion for the “little things” in life again.
In many cases, the first year of recovery is the toughest. The patient is just beginning to adjust to his or her condition and the obstacles that come along with it. Remember that living with an SCI does not mean that it is the end of your active life. Not only are we adaptable as human beings, but houses, cars, sports and gym equipment can be adapted as well.
It is crucial to work hard against the challenges that come with living with an SCI. Through adapting to your new circumstances, you can return to the semblance of life before your injury. Physical and occupational therapy are the key to recovery during this time. Adapting to the new circumstances in your life is key in normalizing your life as much as possible post- injury.
Although it may not seem related, mental health is a huge part of recovery post-injury. It is healthy to express your feelings, thoughts and concerns with doctors, family and friends.
It is common for these injuries to cause anxiety and depression in SCI patients. A support system is critically important to the overall outlook of a spinal cord injury patient. Caregivers, family and friends should continually provide support to the patient through:
- Adjusting to the patient’s physical limitations
- Emotional support to encourage the patient to keep working on recovery
- Encouraging necessary lifestyle changes
- Help finding new activities to promote mental health
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord has four sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. Each of these sections protect a set of nerves that control the body. With that said, the type and severity of SCIs depend on the section of the spine that is injured.
Spinal cord injuries divide into two categories: complete and incomplete.
Complete spinal cord injuries. The signals between the brain and the spinal cord have been compromised causing permanent damage to the affected area of the spinal cord. A complete SCI results in loss of motor and sensory function below the level of injury. Partial or complete paralysis of the lower half of the body or of both the arms and legs are results of complete spinal cord injuries.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries. Incomplete SCIs are more common and account for more than 60 percent of all SCIs. In contrast to complete SCIs, if the patient experiences an incomplete SCI, they will still have some motor and sensory function. With this type of injury, the signal from the brain to the spinal cord have not been completely compromised. The ability to move and the amount of feeling will depend on the injured area of the spine, along with the severity of the injury. The patient’s health and medical history will affect the outcome of an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Do spinal cord injury victims ever get better?
While there is currently not a cure for spinal cord injury, researchers have been studying this problem and have made advances. Such advances have been able to decrease the damage at the time of the injury. Furthermore, doctors prescribe steroid drugs to reduce swelling, a common cause of secondary damage at the time an SCI occurs.
When will patients living with SCI’s see improvements?
There is always hope of recovering some function with spinal cord injuries. Yet, one of the tough things to consider with an SCI is that they are unpredictable. For example, some survivors that experience catastrophic injuries may spontaneously walk. Whereas others may undergo years of physical therapy just to move their fingers.
Swelling that is common after an SCI may cause changes in almost every system in the body. Some patients may regain some function once the swelling starts to go down, days or weeks after the injury occurred. If the injury is incomplete, the individual may recover some function as late as 18 months post-injury. Typically, the extent of function fully returning occurs within the first two years of the initial injury.
Why should I hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
Not only are spinal cord injuries painful, they are also expensive. In fact, the estimated indirect costs such as loss in wages, fringe benefits and productivity averaged $72,047 in 2015. Keep in mind; this does not include expensive medical and rehabilitation costs. When it comes to spinal cord injuries, it is important to consider both the short and long-term costs associated with the injury.
If you were a victim of an incident that left you suffering from a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, suffering, decrease in quality of life, lost wages and more. To successfully recover the compensation you deserve, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer. A qualified spinal cord injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal system. You will always be at a disadvantage in dealing with a professional claim agent whose job is to protect their client (the party that caused you harm). The claim agent will tactics to convince you to settle your claim for the least amount possible.
This article was submitted by The Carlson Law Firm.