For many people, a spinal cord injury is the physical injury that they fear the most. People dislike the idea of losing their mobility and living their lives dependent on assistive technology, like a wheelchair.
As debilitating as spinal cord injuries can be, the depression that they cause can be just as bad. People may withdraw from activities they previously loved or pull back from their relationships after a spinal cord injury.
Being realistic about the future can help someone overcome the emotional challenges experienced after a severe injury. If you or someone you love recently hurt their spine in a car crash, it’s important to recognize that the prognosis for such injuries is not universally poor.
Incomplete injuries may improve with treatment
Not every spinal cord injury fully severs the spinal cord. Incomplete injuries can eventually lead to someone recovering at least some of their lost functionality. While it may take a lot of medical support and rehabilitation, people can recover lost function as their body heals after an incomplete spinal cord injury.
There is hope on the horizon for complete injuries
Early in 2022, medical researchers published groundbreaking information. They shared the story of three men with complete spinal cord injuries who received treatments that allowed them to start walking again.
The patients all had healthy spinal cord below the site of the injury and received implanted devices that they could control with an app. Training on how to use the app and months of physical therapy to help them learn to balance and develop the necessary strength allowed these men to use artificial electrical stimulation to move their legs. They needed extensive support to learn how to balance and move through different environments, but their outcomes are a sign of hope for others.
People adjust after an injury
It is important to recognize that the transitional time immediately after an injury is not an accurate representation of what life will be like in the future. People adjust to their injuries and learn to cope by utilizing the right technology. Most people with spinal cord injuries can continue working and living completely independent lives once they adjust to the change in their circumstances.
Connecting with adequate compensation is crucial for those with spinal cord injuries trying to get the treatment and support they need to acclimate to their changed lives.