A spinal injury can be devastating. It can happen instantly, and the resulting paralysis can be permanent. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Many people have recovered from spinal injuries and lead full, rich lives.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are about 17,700 new spinal cord injuries yearly in the United States. Most of these occur in men, and the most common cause is car accidents. This goes to show that it’s a very real danger that many people face every day.
Causes of spinal injury
Injuries in the spinal cord can be caused by several things, including car accidents, falls, sports injuries, and violence. The most common cause is car accidents, which account for about 38 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Falls are the second most common cause, accounting for about 22 percent.
Sports injuries comprise about 8 percent of all spinal cord injuries, and violence (including gunshot wounds) accounts for about 5 percent. Several risk factors can make someone more likely to suffer a spinal cord injury. These include: In general, there are two main types of spinal cord injuries:
- Traumatic: This happens when the spine is suddenly and forcefully damaged, as in a car accident or a fall.
- Nontraumatic: This occurs when the spine is slowly damaged over time, as in degenerative diseases like arthritis.
Treatment and recovery
Doctors often use various imaging techniques, like MRIs and CT scans, to diagnose spinal cord injuries. Once the extent of the damage is determined, treatment can begin.
The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, promote healing, and improve function. This may involve medication, surgery, physical therapy, and other rehabilitative therapies. Some patients may even need to use catheters as part of their care. In this case, you will need ample supplies of catheters to ensure that you can maintain your independence and quality of life.
Recovery from a spinal cord injury is often a slow and gradual process. But it is possible. There are many stories of people who have made full recoveries and gone on to lead happy, healthy lives. If you are currently suffering from a spinal cord injury, here are some tips to help you focus on your rehabilitation:
Set realistic goals
One of the most important things you can do after a spinal injury is to set realistic goals. It’s important to remember that your body has been through a lot of trauma, and it will take time to heal. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your recovery. Whether your goal is to walk again, regain feeling in your legs or simply be able to brush your teeth unassisted, it’s essential to set small milestones so you can measure your progress.
Stay positive and optimistic
Studies have shown that people with a positive outlook on their recovery tend to heal faster and have less pain than those who are pessimistic. And it makes sense when you think about it – if you believe you’re going to get better, you’re more likely to do the things that will help you recover, like physical therapy. So next time you feel down about your injury, try to think of at least one good thing about the situation.
The first few weeks after the injury are often the most difficult, as the body adjusts to the new situation. During this time, it is important to rest as much as possible and avoid any activities that could potentially aggravate the injury. Once the initial healing process is complete, physiotherapy will play a vital role in helping the individual regain strength and mobility. The road to recovery is often long and arduous, but with patience and determination, it is possible to make a full recovery.
Seek support from family and friends
Dealing with a spinal injury can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. Having the support of loved ones can make all the difference in helping you recover. Family and friends can provide practical support, helping with cooking, cleaning, and transportation. They can also offer emotional support, providing a shoulder to cry on or simply lending a listening ear.
Get involved in your community
When recovering from a spinal injury, it can be easy to feel isolated and alone. One of the best things you can do for your recovery is to get involved in your community. There are probably lots of activities and organizations that would love to have you, whether it’s volunteering at a local school or joining a book club. Getting out and meeting new people will help you to feel more connected and supported, and it can also give you a sense of purpose.
The bottom line
Any type of injury can be a difficult and trying experience. But it’s important to remember that there is always hope for recovery. With the right attitude, treatment, and support, you can overcome anything.