Coping with Paraplegia

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Coping with Paraplegia

Coping with paraplegia is easier when you have the support of a great team. Learn more about how to proceed after a spinal injury.


Article by: Glenna M.


Coping with Paraplegia

 Paraplegia is defined as the loss of sensation and movement in the legs and all or part of the lower body. The spinal cord passes through thirty-three vertebrae, which are divided by medical practitioners into five regions. Depending on the region where the injury was sustained, the effects can vary. A T-9 injury, for example, in the thoracic area, is less serious than a C-3 injury in the cervical area. Doctors can usually predict with some accuracy what the effects of the injury will be simply by hearing where it has occurred. In the first few months after an injury, patients may regain some sensation or movement; after this period the likelihood of improvement decreases. However, studies have shown that intensive physical therapy on an ongoing basis can achieve some results. And new technologies as well as research involving glial cells may be leading toward an effective treatment of paraplegia.

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury that has resulted in paraplegia, you may be wondering how you will go forward from here. A serious spinal injury can impact every aspect of your life, from your self-image to your ability to live independently, from your mobility to your bowel function to your sex life. Fortunately, most paraplegics are able to adjust to their new reality and go on to live fulfilling lives. The key is to find people who are able to support your efforts, and to build a structure for your future that will allow you to reach your full potential.

Assembling Your Support System
During the first year after your accident, you will need to depend on people at least some of the time. It will take time to learn everything you need to know to live independently, and to make adjustments to your lifestyle. 

First, family or friends who can be there for you emotionally are a big part of any recovery process. Identify a few people who can help you during this time. There will be times when you might need to have someone pick up medication or take you to an appointment – or even just sit and talk with you. Friends make any challenges easier. You may also want to consider hiring a caregiver to help you until you are further down the road of recovery.

A good medical team is imperative. You need a family doctor to oversee all of your treatment, and you need specialists to help you find ways to maximize your physical health. Ask if you may be eligible for any trials; there are numerous cutting-edge treatments being developed for spinal injuries. You will probably want to see a counsellor to help you deal with feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness. Your mental health can have a great effect on how you will cope with your injury. You will want to continue with physical therapy as long as possible to increase your strength and flexibility. This will require a physical therapist or a personal trainer. You may need to meet regularly or occasionally with an occupational therapist to help you find ways to perform tasks on your own. Specialized equipment or techniques can be of use. 

Support groups can also be a great help. Some people with spinal injuries find that connecting with people who know what they’re going through can be really valuable. Contact organizations such as Spinal Cord Injury Canada to find a group in your area.

And finally, following any accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. These professionals can help you to find out what your options are with regard to receiving compensation, and can act quickly to set the process of an insurance claim in motion. As you recover, you will likely be unable to work. In addition, you will have new expenses that can include home and vehicle modifications, wheelchairs, and caregiving. Accessing funds is essential for your well-being.

Accidents and Compensation
The types of accidents that most commonly result in these types of injuries include:


Motor vehicle accidents
Motorcycle accidents
Falls from height
Skiing accidents
ATV or snowmobile accidents
Diving accidents
Sport injuries
Injuries due to violence

It’s very possible that you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation with regard to your injury. If your accident happened when you were working, there may be funds available from your employer’s group insurance benefits, as well as from Workers Compensation. If your injury resulted from a motor vehicle accident, you should file a claim with your insurance company as quickly as possible. If the accident was caused by another’s negligence or illegal behaviour, you may be able to obtain additional compensation. 

These types of claims or suits can be extremely complex. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to help you with ascertaining what to claim, and to help you compile and complete all of the paperwork that’s necessary. A personal injury lawyer will also have knowledge of filing deadlines and can keep the process moving ahead smoothly. 

Coping with paraplegia is not something you want to attempt on your own. Contact a personal injury lawyer today and learn more about your options.