How spinal cord injury affects you
Most people with a spinal cord injury will experience at least some of the following, partially or completely:
- Loss of movement in the legs, affecting your ability to walk
- Possible loss of movement in the chest, trunk, hands or arms
- Loss of feeling in parts of the body
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Pain or stinging sensations, spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility.
Depression and anxiety are not uncommon in those affected by spinal cord injury – both the individuals and their families – with many people feeling that the things most important to them in life may never be the same.
How you are physically and emotionally affected by spinal cord injury depends on a range of factors:
- The level of the spinal cord injury, whether it is complete or incomplete i.e. whether you experience total or partial paralysis below the level of your injury
- Which part of your spinal cord is damaged
- Your age – older people affected by spinal cord injury may face particular challenges
- The cause of injury
- Your situation at the time of your injury – whether you were working, studying etc
- Your access to specialist rehabilitation after your injury
- Your family and social network.