Rebuilding Your Quality of Life After SCI

Life after spinal cord injury can create a lot of change for your day-to-day life, but that does not necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice the quality of your life as you begin to come to terms with your condition.


Both the psychological and physical adjustment of an SCI can take its toll on someone’s health and wellbeing but even when the effects of spinal cord injury might feel out of your control, there are many positive steps to take that may improve your overall quality of life.


This article delves into the many ways you can add productivity and healthy changes to your life as you readjust to your injury.


How Spinal Cord Injury might impact the quality of life


Unless experienced personally, not many people will realise the impact of a spinal cord injury until you try to adapt back to everyday life before the incident occurred. Your body can feel completely different, and it may take some time to relearn those seemingly normal and simple steps you would’ve taken with ease before.


A toll on mental health


Many of those with spinal cord injury will experience mental health struggles such as anxiety, depression and more. There are many ways one will experience mental health when dealing with an SCI – for some, it could be mild moments of sadness, while others may suffer from crippling angst and despair.


Symptoms of depression may include disordered sleep patterns, unmotivated behaviour, low energy, loss of or increase in appetite and more.


If you believe that you might be suffering from depression, know that there is plenty of support to help you and you are not alone.


Shattered independence


A lot of people will go throughout their day with a level of independence that others could only imagine having, and for those who have gone from living a relatively normal life to experiencing living with a spinal cord injury, the change in independence can truly turn everything they once knew about life upside down.


Depending on the extent of your injury, SCI can prevent you from performing regular activities such as making food, using the bathroom alone, walking around the house or even getting dressed.


Those that live with spinal cord injuries may require a lot of additional support to help take care of themselves by hiring a support worker or relying on family and friends.


A financial burden


The sufficient health care costs and new living expenses related to spinal cord injury vary depending on your age, your location and the seriousness of your injury. One way to ensure such costs are reduced at a minimum is to make sure you receive the right treatment as soon as possible after the event of injury. Early treatment encourages early independence and offers those with an incomplete spinal cord injury the chance of restoring or at least improving bodily function – which lowers the risk of more expensive lifetime costs.


How do medical experts measure the quality of life?


Spinal cord injury specialists have many tools they use to measure your quality of life after SCI, and this will entail several assessments to determine your results. The common SCI quality of life assessments is the 26-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS).


There is also an interesting tool called SCI-QOL, which measures the quality of life by covering the whole spectrum of well-being, including emotional, physical and social health.


Improving your quality of life after spinal cord injury


Taking the steps to make a key difference in your emotional, mental and physical health may feel impossible, but with the right advice, you can transform the way you live life with an SCI.


Support groups


While family and friends can provide love and support, they might not have a full understanding of what you’re going through. Joining a spinal cord support group can help you make close connections with those who have experienced it for themselves. Equally, the benefit of sharing your own story could help others too.


Physical therapy + emotional therapy


A spinal cord injury is traumatising in itself, but the way you sustained your injuries could be something that may continue to haunt you emotionally if you do not seek guidance and support from trained professionals.


A physical therapist will assess your initial capabilities and then provide you with a personalised plan to encourage mobility. Exercise, no matter how small, will help to increase metabolic rate, reduce muscle atrophy and improve overall circulation.


If you have an incomplete spinal cord injury, moving as much as you possibly can is the best way to retrain your spinal cord to work with your body and brain like it once did. And, if needed, services like occupational therapy can help you increase daily independence by practising daily activities such as going to the toilet, getting dressed and showering.


Your social skills may suffer during the overall recovery process, and occupational therapy can support your reintegration into the community and help you with returning to work or school.


Healthy food, healthy mind


A healthy diet does wonders for your immune system and mental health. It can affect your energy levels, mood, focus and even the entire functioning of your body. A diet that includes good nutrients will help encourage your body to stay healthy and in turn, keep your mind healthy.


Spend quality time with loved ones


Spinal cord injury can be the cause of many peoples loneliness during recovery, resulting in lower quality of life. A disability shouldn’t mean you have to give up your social life; loved ones will understand that it takes time to come to terms with such a drastic change and will allow you space and support you need to recover at a comfortable pace. Allowing those around you to help when you’re at your most guarded can strengthen your relationships for the future.


Time to adjust


You must take the time needed to come to terms with your injury, how you are going to move forward and what your future will look like. Everything from the food you consume to the amount you sleep, exercise and socialise all play a part in rebuilding your quality of life after SCI.


Contrary to belief, there is hope and good chance that those with a spinal cord injury can still live an active and enjoyable life regardless of their disability. It’s a huge learning process, but with the right mindset and level of resilience, you can adapt to your life without making any sacrifices when it comes to feeling happy and content.


Our specialist spinal cord injury solicitors work only with clients that have a spinal cord injury and, as a result, they are genuine experts in this field. It means our solicitors do not get distracted by minor accidents and whiplash claims. Because they spend all of their time working with people with spinal cord injuries, they fully understand the complications and challenges that these types of injuries cause.

All of our spinal cord injury solicitors are very experienced litigators with vast experience in succeeding in complex and high-value claims, especially spinal cord injury claims.