News, Media & Resources | Life After SCI - From Rehab To Rediscovering

Life After SCI - From Rehab To Rediscovering

A wheelchair user on the beach, on a sunny day. He's viewing the sea, where people are in the water.

After spinal cord injury, everything changes. What everyone wants to know is what life is going to be like after a spinal cord injury - the physical, occupational and emotional challenges ahead.

No one can answer with absolute certainty. Spinal cord injuries are different and unpredictable. No two people will have the same experience, so it’s hard to be prepared for a future you had never imagined.

Rehabilitation is the first step in the recovery process - helping people return, as much as possible, to independent living.

What Happens In Rehab?

SCI rehabilitation provides practical help and supports people from injury to independence. Rehab involves medical treatment from doctors and nursing staff, to help prevent secondary complications such as skin breakdown or infections.

Patients receive physical therapy, appropriate to their injury level. Typically, therapists focus on improving the ability for patients to move in bed and transfer to other surfaces - like an exercise mat or a toilet. They’ll also work to help patients maintain their balance in different positions.

Rehab also offers support for the patient’s family throughout the process, working with them to determine the best and safest discharge plan for the patient.

Rehabilitation plays a huge role in maximising independence and fortunately, there are plenty of spinal injury centres - including eight specialist centres in England alone. At Aspire Law, we have excellent connections with major rehabilitation experts to help you access the best service for you.

Find out more about how we can help you.

Overcoming Challenges

The most common question people ask after a spinal cord injury is if they will ever regain mobility. No one can predict with 100% certainty what will happen in everybody’s situation, as symptoms vary as do outcomes depending on the severity of any spinal cord damage.

Physical therapy is difficult during the first months following an injury but it does help to build strength and learn new methods to achieve activities of daily living. Everyone makes at least some progress with rehabilitation.  

Work and Education

Adults with SCI may or may not be able to return to the same type of work they did before. There are vocational programs and counselling available to explore careers after spinal cord injury - helping to find positive employment outcomes. 

Many people are injured at college or university age. It’s hard enough being a teenager, let alone a teen with SCI. During rehabilitation, therapists can design a plan that includes training for staff and students to help support your education. 

Love, Sex and SCI

Men and women with a spinal cord injury are often worried about forming or maintaining relationships - and especially about sex.

The most important sexual organ is the brain. There are physical changes to adapt to, and these can be overcome in several ways through discussions with therapists, doctors and other people with SCI.

Finding New Outlets, Adapting Your Old Ones

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), 9% of injuries happen during football, gymnastics, skateboarding and diving. Building up the courage to try an activity you once loved and found simple, that you now struggle to do, is tough.

But it’s important to keep your body as active as possible. It helps to prevent spasticity and has plenty of other benefits, too. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise regime, but once you get the go ahead you can try activities like yoga, water aerobics, seated aerobics, rowing and even weightlifting.

Amazing sports can be played by wheelchair users, depending on injury level.

Keeping your mind in shape is just as important as keeping your body active. Music, painting and writing can all continue after SCI - even with limited mobility. Computers with adapted interfaces facilitate paralysed musicians and mouth painters create incredible works of art - people with tetraplegia have even written best-selling books.

Even if you’ve never written or painted before, discovering something new will help to keep your body and mind moving - and as impossible as it might sound at first, you’ll have fun.

Contact Aspire Law

Different injuries require different levels of care, rehabilitation and support. Aspire Law understands how varied and complex the individual requirements of our clients and their family can be. We recognise the difficulties caused by spinal cord injury and the adjustments required to regain a level of independence. 

If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, please get in touch on 0800 030 20 40.