Life After a Spinal Cord Injury: 6 Coping Tips

A spinal cord injury, depending on the severity and overall damage done, can change the life of an individual for the worse quite quickly. Unfortunately, the mental issues and the process of adapting to a completely new lifestyle, due to restricted mobility and other issues, can take a toll on the individual physically and psychologically. However, as a huge portion of the population has gone through such an injury and kept on going, living a normal life and making the best out of the situation, there is hope for everyone. Therefore, we summed up 6 useful and effective coping tips on how to live life after a spinal cord injury. 

Combating anger and grief 

When your spinal cord is harmed in an accident, the consequences might be severe and irreparable, or they can be life-threatening but manageable. Whatever the case may be, the first thing you should do is make sure the incident does not take a serious toll on your mental health and does not devastate you emotionally. There have been numerous examples of people who even ended up in a wheelchair and have eventually found the strength and will to move on and find a new purpose in their life. You’ll go through several stages of sadness and grief; you’ll feel anger and frustration, and eventually go into denial. All the stages are a natural process of adapting to the newly found situation, as your body and brain are altering in accordance with what has happened. The final stage is acceptance, which means acceptance of your new state, acceptance of all the restrictions due to the lack of mobility; acceptance of your inability to maybe do recreational sports like you used to; and acceptance of living under pain from time to time as the pain is manageable. Seeking treatment is one step; another is joining a larger community of individuals who have had the same destiny as you (or worse, since some have ended up in wheelchairs or are entirely paralyzed from the neck down) and finding new strategies to battle and survive the agony.

Make sure to seek compensation 

Spinal cord injuries can be the result of several different accidents, from a road crash to falling off your stairs. There are numerous situations, each distinguishably different from the other. People who suffer such an injury often struggle with a sense of guilt and injustice if the accident happened due to the negligence of another party involved. We spoke with a number of experts, including a San Antonio spinal cord injury attorney, who all agreed that a well-handled legal settlement following a catastrophic accident may provide financial security. Most attorneys stated how the material compensation has more of an emotional and mental effect on the victim, as they finally have a sort of closure and do not cope with the feeling of injustice done to them. They stop feeling and acting like victims and have more confidence, knowing that their basic rights have been met. 

Furthermore, the compensation helps them financially as well, as spinal cord injuries require expensive and long-lasting treatments, visits to the doctor, and a series of medical examinations and therapies. Sometimes, due to the specificity of the injury, life insurance does not cover some costs, and as the victims are now confined to bed or in a wheelchair or have restricted mobility, they cannot find a sufficient way to pay for all the expenses. 

Therefore, we highly recommend seeking professional advice and consulting a lawyer on your rights and claims for compensation if you suffered an injury due to someone else’s fault. 

Realizing your disability and need for help 

Often, especially if the victims have been quite independent before the accident, they have a problem seeking help or accepting the reality of needing assistance of any sort. Whether you have trouble going down the stairs, or are bound to a wheelchair and cannot go to the bathroom, asking for someone’s help might help you cope with the new situation. Often, a feeling of guilt is bothering the person as he or she feels like a burden to their family or friend. However, most are more than willing to lend you a hand. The quicker you come to such a realization, the quicker you’ll recover. 

It will take time 

As said, some spinal cord injuries are severe yet tolerable, and in the case of such injuries, where recovery is a chance, patience is the key. People have managed to get up on their feet once again, run, train, and even continue a normal life after the accident. Again, time and patience are key. Persistence and developing a fighter’s mindset can help you recover. 

Positive thinking 

We mentioned previously how becoming part of a broader community of people who share a similar fate can help you cope with the injury. The reason for this is that you will notice how other people have it much worse. As you may be among the “fortunate” ones, this can improve your own view and perception, and you may even create a more optimistic and joyful mentality as a result.

Creating a sort of routine 

We, as humans, are creatures of habit, which means that we are readily and rapidly accustomed to following a routine. Routines help us stay in shape, stay organized and be constantly aware of the newly discovered situation. Not only can it help you recover more quickly, but it also keeps you mentally healthy and distracted from negative thoughts. 

Finally, what counts is your well-being, and whatever actions you must take to accomplish it, you must take care of it since you are the one dealing with and tolerating all that is happening to you.