When one becomes paralyzed from a T-12 break of the spinal cord, many emotions and challenges lie ahead. The first obstacle is getting through the fact that you most likely will never walk again. When one is use to walking and doing activities and then is told they will never walk again, can have an impacting affect. It is very important to take care of your health or this injury can lead to many other health problems. You should never have self pity, be strong and move on and take the necessary precautions needed for you to lead a normal life. Life does not end because you may never walk again. Look past the injury and live your life to the fullest. Below are some ways to keep yourself as healthy as possible with a spinal cord injury.
The number one health concern with spinal cord injuries is kidney failure. If you do not take the necessary precautions to keep your kidneys healthy, it can not only lead to kidney failure but it can also lead to death. If you have to use a catheter to urinate, keeping the catheter sanitized is very important. This can be done by washing the catheter after every use with warm water and soap. Soaking the catheter with badadine is a good way to keep it clean and sanitized. To ensure you are not putting bacteria into the kidneys from the catheter, use once and then discard. Another way to keep your kidneys healthy is to drink eight, 8oz glasses of water per day to flush the kidneys. You may also drink unsweetened cranberry juice or ask your physician about taking one cranberry pill a day. This will help eliminate your chances of contracting a kidney infection or kidney stones.
A bedsore can also be deadly for a person with a spinal cord injury. Constant pressure on the sore can lead to the sore getting through layers of skin and into the bone. If untreated, the sore can lead to gangrene, a deadly infection. You must relieve pressure from pressure points. Most bedsores for paraplegics occur on the bottom from sitting for long periods of time. To help eliminate this problems you must raise yourself up through out the day for at least 20 seconds. Another way is to use a Roho Cushion, this cushion is one of the best on the market. When sleeping at night be sure to use pillows to relieve pressure points. When laying on your side it is important to place a pillow in-between your knees.
Foot drop is a condition where your toes will point toward the floor from no support. Your injury may still allow you to get braces so you can at least stand and possibly walk using crutches. Having foot drop will make it so the braces do not fit right and you will not be able to stand. To keep foot drop from occurring, keep your leg rest on your wheelchair and exercise. To perform these exercise grab your toes with your hand and slowly pull them up toward your knees and repeat this motion.
There is no cure for muscle spasm and these spasms can be painful. You may also experience pain in your legs due to nerve damage from the spinal cord injury. To eliminate some of these pains try to lay on your stomach at times instead of always laying on your back or side. You may also try a heating pad, although this can be dangerous for a person who has no feeling in the legs. Adjust the heat to low setting and then cover the pad with a towel before placing on the legs. This will help so you do not end up burning your legs. Another way to help ease muscle spasm or leg pains is having your physician prescribe you pain pills.
I personally would not recommend pain pills due to the fact that they can become addictive and they may also cause kidney and/or liver damage. Using pain pills for long periods of time can also make you get immune to the pain pills. So as you age, you may not be able to deal with the pain as well, the pills will not work and you will have to up the dose. This is all to familiar to me because I have a complete T-12 break of the spinal cord. This accident occurred 23 years ago and I am still healthy by taking these actions.