Stages of Recovery from a Spinal Cord Injury

spinal cord injury

Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord serves as the backbone of all human functions. It holds the cord that communicates to the brain through the central nervous system on everything that happens within and outside of the body. When you suffer a spinal cord injury, you risk losing the functionalities associated with the body. You may not be able to move your hands, your feet, or other parts of the body that involve motion. This is because the communication between the brain and the body occurs through the spinal cord. When you receive an injury, you should take care in order to help you recover in the best way possible, and recover your functionalities as much as you can. The spinal cord is a delicate part of your body and should always receive proper care and protection. Understanding the recovery process from an injury will help you go through the process with the psychological fitness required to heal. Dr. Jay Shah in West Orange, NJ,  recommends knowing the following to help walk you through the recovery process from spinal cord injury.

Survival Stage

It forms the first stage of recovery and arguably the hardest as you realize that you suffered a severe injury and may have to make massive adjustments in your life. It would help if you understood that most spinal cord injuries result in death, and having a second chance at life may be a good start towards adjusting yourself psychologically. Take time to accept the condition and find the mental strength to move forward.


After suffering the injury, you likely get rushed to a hospital where they determine the extent of your spinal injury. The evaluation may mean you have to undergo surgery, or you may be placed on a ventilator. Once you start recovering, the next step involves moving you to a rehabilitation center, or if you did not suffer severe damage, you might go home. When you check into a rehabilitation center, you may expect to spend approximately five weeks while they try to help you recover your body’s functionality.

Discharge from Hospital

Getting admitted at the hospital only helps to stabilize your condition, after which you need to get specialized attention to rehabilitate your body functionalities. Only 1% of people experience a full recovery after a spinal cord injury, given how critical the injury manifests. You have to plan with your caregivers on how to start the road to recovery. It is a stressful period as you struggle with accepting the situation, the need to look for a home caregiver, and the need to plan your finances to support the extra expenses due to special attention required. You may also require to buy special equipment to help in the recovery process.

Physical Therapy

This part comes after you start recovering, not only physically but mentally. You have enough energy to start the physical therapy sessions. It involves exercising your body to regain functionalities such as moving your legs and walking. It not only exercises your physical muscles but also tries to exercise the brain towards recovering the communication with the affected areas of the spinal cord. The physical therapy may result in the recovery of full functionality, although some may never fully recover from their injuries.

Physical and Psychological Recovery

The recovery process is never linear, but rather an individualized one. You may start by recovering from the injured area, regaining some body movement and other progress. Some people never recover full functionality, but the standard is always to try and improve. The same applies to psychological recovery from the trauma of the event and the hard time towards recovery.

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