Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe catastrophic injuries that a person can sustain. There are no cures for SCIs and while some people can improve their function, they usually do not recover completely.
Facing a spinal cord injury can result in complete or incomplete paralysis. If you recently sustained a spinal cord injury, you may have years of ongoing care ahead of you to help you learn to live with your injuries.
First, most people go through physical therapy after an SCI. Physical therapists focus on how to help you maintain and strengthen muscle function. You may have to relearn different motor skills, but you have to learn new ways to adapt to your everyday tasks. In physical therapy, you may have access to various technologies and assistive technology to help you move, speak and perform different tasks.
Occupational therapy focuses on everyday tasks. Occupational therapy can refer to how you perform at work, home or school. Therapists will provide you with different tools to succeed in everyday life. For example, a physical therapist may work with you on how to dress, bathe or cook for yourself again.
Spinal cord injuries can wreak havoc on your mental health. It is normal to feel grief following an accident. Patients with SCIs often develop anxiety and depression due to their injuries. Working with a mental health professional can help alleviate some symptoms while giving you the tools necessary to improve your mental health.
As medical technology advances, more assistive tools and treatments become available for people with spinal cord injuries.