Today if you take care of yourself you can live a lengthy life, like a normal person, after spinal cord injury . But situations were not that good if you go back in history.
Before world War II and the advent of antibiotics, lives of people suffering from spinal cord injury were very short.Spinal cord injury was like a death sentence and the culprits were three i.e Pneumonia, pressure ulcers and urinary tract infections.
These three are still very dangerous and still the main cause of deaths after spinal cord injury. Let’s discuss briefly about some chronic complications of spinal cord injury below:
Pneumonia is caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infections in lungs. It is very dangerous, especially in upper level spinal cord injury people because of the paralysis of chest muscles and difficulty to remove secretions. To avoid it, don’t restrict yourself to bed and live a mobile and active life style so that lungs secretions don’t get concentrated, difficult to pass and block air sacks. Drinking plenty of water also helps diluting lungs secretions which are easier to remove. Don’t unnecessarily expose yourself to cold and take great care of yourself as prevention is better than cure. In case of Pneumonia, consult your doctor immediately.
READ ALSO : Diaphragmatic breathing after spinal injury
Pressure sores are very dangerous and another main reason of deaths after spinal cord injury. I have seen many friends dying and restricting to bed after spinal cord injury, due to pressure sores. Pressure sores are formed due to sitting or lying in one position for long time without releasing pressure. The most important thing you should do to avoid pressure sores is to release pressure. Use a good cushion, possibly an air cushion, while sitting in wheelchair. Keep lifting yourself up while in wheelchair at regular intervals. If you are a quadriplegic, keep moving to sides and forward to release pressure off the buttocks while in wheelchair. Changing sides several times at night can help prevent pressure sores formation. For more details, read the article on pressure sores.
Read also: Pressure sores information sheet
URINARY TRACT INFECTION:
Over the years, people suffering from spinal cord injury have been very prone to urinary tract infections and it is the third danger, you should keep yourself safe from after spinal cord injury. Take great care of hygiene while using catheter for emptying bladder. Read article on bladder management to know more about it.
Read also : Bladder management after spinal cord injury
So if you want to live healthy, active, and longer life after spinal cord injury, then keep yourself safe from these three dangers.