Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling. The injury will often result in partial or full paralysis. A paralyzed person will not be able to control movement and often lacks sensation of touch and temperature. Spinal Cord Injury often results from trauma as a result of car accident, gunshot, falls, etc. or from disease such as polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s Ataxia, etc. There are many concerns SCI patients and their families are faced with during such an injury. Since mobility is limited by the paralysis, many SCI patients wonder if they can still pursue their regular activities such as driving, attending school, going to work, or traveling. Others wonder about the effects of SCI on normal sexual function and on the ability to bear or father a child. Research and the resulting technologies are able to provide SCI patients answers to these concerns. Vehicles can be modified for hand control driving and for wheelchair accommodation. Offices or places of employment now accommodate workers with SCI and a number of employers are considering the needs of employees with SCI. If a person with SCI wants to travel, hoteliers, airlines, amusement parks and tourist destinations provide accessibility options for their special needs guests. In addition, bladder and bowel control can now be managed by using certain processes and procedures. Attending school is still a possibility for SCI patients. Campuses are now equipped with ramps and elevators and other accessibility components to address the needs of people with SCI. Scholarships are even available for students with SCI or other disabilities. In terms of children after SCI, the couple can consult their doctor and go for the best option that they feel most comfortable with. SCI can be managed with the help of medical practitioners specializing in this field. SCI patients can still engage in sports with some modification and equipment. One can still enjoy sports if interested and willing. Wheelchairs now are improved to match the SCI patients’ needs and preferences. The best approach for SCI management for the family is to tap into the vast resources made available to SCI patients. There are organizations that provide assistive devices, counseling, forum, rehabilitation, therapy and other essential things to help SCI patients pursue and maintain their usual activities. SCI patients are encouraged to seek help rather than withdraw from friends and family. Familial and social supports are two of the most important sources of strength and motivation for SCI patients. SCI has been the focus of many research endeavors and although recovery and cure remains unpredictable, science is able to produce the technologies to make the everyday activities of SCI patients possible. Researchers are working hard to find solutions and it is the hope that someday the cure for SCI will be discovered, and processes and procedures for reversing the damage can be identified. What SCI patients and their families can do today is to use the best help and resources available. Adjustments may be hard and time consuming, but with the power of human will, nothing is impossible. If you have received a spinal cord injury at the expense of another party, please do not hesitate to contact us at Christensen & Hymas for a free consultation, 801-506-0800.
Photo “Standing Frame” copyright by Memasa.