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Raising awareness of spinal cord injury

Doctor looks at an X-ray image of a spinal cord
18th May 2016

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day takes place on May 20th 2016 and is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the life-changing impact the condition can have.

According to Spinal Research there are 50,000 people living with spinal cord injury in the UK and Ireland, and 1,000 new cases occur every year, each with a different degree of severity.

This article looks at the nature of this type of injury, the impact it can have on individuals and their families, and what support exists to adjust to life following an accident or illness.

What is spinal cord injury?

The spinal cord is the link between your brain and the rest of your body, carrying signals back and forth through your nervous system. When it’s damaged by physical injury or serious illness, those signals are disrupted.

When this line of communication is affected it can result in paralysis and loss of sensation in different areas of the body. Blood pressure regulation, bowel and bladder control and even the ability to breathe independently can also be affected.

Key to understanding spinal cord injury is knowing that symptoms and their severity depend on where in the spinal cord the injury lies.

As a result, each instance of injury is unique, with chances of recovery and the wider impact on quality of life varying from person to person.

How it can affect you…

Spinal cord injuries require an individual to adapt to a new and often challenging set of circumstances, which can take considerable time.

This can impact on all aspects of life, and, depending on severity, could result in the need for 24-hour care and costly adaptations made to your home.

It can also mean fundamental changes to the roles played by family members and loved ones – especially where limits on your ability to work result in loss of family income.

The mental, emotional and financial tolls of making necessary changes and adapting to the realities of a spinal cord injury can be extremely challenging.

Adaptation and support…

When adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury it’s important to bear in mind that there is a wide range of support available.

The possibility of returning to work or resuming hobbies may appear daunting or an impossibility at the start of the rehabilitation process, especially after the most severe spinal cord injuries, but there are a number of options to explore.

Organisations such as the Spinal Injuries Association, Spinal Cord Injury Charity and Back Up exist to provide crucial support for victims of spinal cord injury and their families with resources, advice and other help.

The long term care costs and adaptations to your home can be a major cause of worry following an injury.

Where the circumstances leading to the injury could have been avoided, legal support can help ensure these costs are taken care of.

Your Legal Friend has a highly experienced UK team and if you or a loved one have been affected by spinal cord injury as a result of an accident or a delay in treatment, we may be able to help you find redress.

We understand the life-changing impact this can have on individuals and their families, and our specialist solicitors are there to provide careful and professional support every step of the way.

To talk through your situation with our experts, call us on 0808 301 8214.