Spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, can change your life in many ways, either permanently or temporarily until you recover as much as possible. Injuries of this nature can result in after-effects that range from mild nerve damage to significant mobility issues. Regardless of the impact a spinal cord injury has had on your life, it’s important to make an effort to maintain your overall health as you continue to recover and adapt. Here are four things you can do to achieve this goal after a spinal cord injury.
It’s common for spinal cord injuries to affect mobility to some extent. If this applies to you, it’s still important to find safe, comfortable ways to exercise regularly to strengthen your spine-supporting muscles. Do some experimenting to find forms of exercise that work well for you. With SCIs, gentle forms of exercise that target multiple muscle groups tend to be recommended. Options fitting into this category include:
• Swimming and other water-based exercises
• Upper body exercises that can be done in a wheelchair
• Yoga or modified forms of yoga specific to your capabilities
Find a balance with your diet choices as you make necessary adjustments after a spinal cord injury. If your mobility is limited, be mindful of your calories so excess weight doesn’t add stress to your spine. At the same time, it’s okay to indulge occasionally if you stick to an otherwise healthy diet. Doing so can also be good for you mentally.
Proper nutrition is also essential for optimal recovery from procedures such as spinal fusion surgery. Los Angeles patients should seek advice from their spine specialists about which foods will aid most in their recovery.
Continuing with the topic of mental health, it’s just as important to remain mentally engaged after a spinal cord injury. Because of the way SCIs can affect every aspect of your life, your psyche can be thrown off to some extent. Taking steps to maintain your mental health is also good for your spine, since the more mentally focused you are, the more likely you are to be mindful of your physical health. As for what you can to keep your mind engaged or address any emotional issues you may be dealing with, possibilities include:
• Having stimulating conversations with friends and family members
• Enjoying mentally stimulating activities
• Working with a therapist or counselor if you’re dealing with stress and/or anxiety related to your SCI
Everyone can benefit from annual doctor visits. However, spinal cord injury patients often have more frequent follow-up visits scheduled. It’s important to keep these appointments so your progress and overall health and wellbeing can be assessed. It’s also beneficial to be diligent about recommended vaccinations. This is because individuals with SCIs tend to have additional issues that can make seasonal illnesses more challenging.
Your doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon can help you further fine-tune your post-SCI exercise and lifestyle routines. You may also benefit from working with a physical therapist, personal trainer, dietician, and other specialists who can give you personalized guidance.
If you’ve had a spinal cord injury or you’re experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, reach out to the spinal health experts at The Spine Institute. Our experienced physicians are setting the standard for innovative care, including using state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat all forms of neck and back pain. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.