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Living With a Spinal Cord Injury (cont.)

Rehabilitation

As soon as you are stabilized after your spinal cord injury (SCI), your transition into rehabilitation (rehab) begins. The initial focus of rehab is to prevent complications related to your SCI and for you to relearn how to do daily functions, sometimes by using different muscle groups.

Rehab centers help you adjust—physically and emotionally—to life with less mobility and feeling than you previously had. What rehab does depends on which part of your spine was injured. Rehab can include learning how to:

  • Prevent complications related to your spinal cord injury.
  • Do daily functions and activities.
    • Learn how to move yourself from a wheelchair to a bed, chair, or other location.
    • Learn how to perform daily tasks, such as brushing your teeth and cooking.
  • Prepare for your life after rehab.
    • Learn how to cope with your feelings. Many people with an SCI go through a grieving process.
    • Learn how to communicate your needs.
    • Learn how to be intimate physically and emotionally.

Rehab centers

Rehab for an SCI generally takes place in a special center. You and your family work with a rehab team, which includes your doctor, rehab nurses, and specialists such as physical and occupational therapists. Your rehab team designs a unique plan for your recovery that will help you recover as much function as possible, prevent complications, and help you live as independently as possible.

Choosing the right rehab center is important. Be sure that you choose one that meets your specific needs. Before choosing a rehab center, ask questions about its staff, accreditation, activities, and how it transitions you back into your community.

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