According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 200,000 people in the United States currently live with a spinal cord injury, and about 12,000 to 20,000 people sustain new spinal cord injuries each year. These injuries occur when there is damage to any part of the spinal cord, which can result in temporary or permanent neurological impairments. In cases of complete spinal cord injury, when damage to the spinal cord results in permanent loss of the ability to transmit nerve impulses, a patient loses sensory and motor function below the level of the injury, known as paralysis. According to the CDC, the two most common causes of spinal cord injury are motor vehicle accidents and falls. If a reckless driver or a negligent employer or property owner may be legally liable for your spinal cord injury, an experienced Orlando injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Tips for Coping with a Spinal Cord Injury
Adjusting to life with a newly-acquired disability can be very difficult, especially right at first, but many spinal cord injury victims go on to lead productive and fulfilling lives. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following for coping with a spinal cord injury:
- Grieving — Spinal cord injury victims need time to grieve the loss of who they were and what they were once able to do. Grieving is an important part of recovery. Victims may initially experience denial or disbelief, followed by sadness, anger and bargaining. The grieving process eventually culminates in acceptance. During the grieving process, spinal cord injury victims should try to set new goals and work toward moving forward. Support groups can be a great resource during this time.
- Educating oneself and talking about one’s injury — Spinal cord injury victims should educate themselves about their injuries and about how to regain their independence. Vehicle modifications, for instance, may enable them to drive again. Home modifications can help them live more autonomously. It also helps to talk to family and friends about one’s injury, so they understand what help is needed and how much help is too much.
- Dealing with intimacy issues — A spinal cord injury can affect the body’s response to sexual stimuli. Professional counselors help spinal cord injury victims and their partners communicate their feelings and needs and find ways to experience intimacy together.