A spinal cord injury, often resulting from traumatic accidents at work on a construction site, can have profound and lasting effects on an individual’s daily life. These changes may not appear obvious at first.
By the end of 2022, there were 302,000 people living in America with spinal cord injuries, according to Statista. Learning more about how and why these spinal cord injuries can impact someone can help as someone notices more symptoms.
After a spinal cord injury, mobility is often severely impaired. Individuals may rely on mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers or crutches to move about. Simple tasks such as getting out of bed or passing through doorways can become daunting challenges, often requiring assistance or adaptive devices.
Challenges in basic activities
The loss of sensation and motor function below the injury site can complicate fundamental activities of daily living. Tasks like dressing, bathing and eating become hard endeavors, demanding great patience and determination. Such dependence on others for these activities can be emotionally draining, leading to feelings of frustration and dependency.
Independence in transportation becomes compromised as many individuals require specially modified vehicles to accommodate their mobility devices. This reliance on accessible transportation can limit spontaneous outings and hinder participation in social activities, making it difficult to maintain a fulfilling social life.
Secondary health complications
Spinal cord injuries often lead to a range of secondary health issues. Pressure sores, urinary tract infections and muscle atrophy are common complications. These issues demand ongoing medical attention, adding another layer of complexity to daily life and necessitating frequent doctor visits and specialized care.
Coping with the aftermath of a spinal cord injury can be emotionally challenging. Feelings of grief, anger and depression are prevalent as individuals come to terms with the loss of their previous level of functioning. Adjusting to a new way of life, with altered abilities and limitations, can be emotionally taxing and may require professional counseling or support groups.
Socially, the impact of a spinal cord injury can be isolating. Friends and family may struggle to comprehend the extent of the changes and the ongoing challenges faced by the individual. This can lead to a sense of loneliness and disconnect from one’s support system.
Adapting to these changes may seem hard at first, but staying aware of common struggles can give someone a place to start. A person knowing what next steps to take for their health and safety can give them peace of mind.