Paralysis is caused by illness or an injury that results in paraplegia, tetraplegia or hemiplegia. Paraplegia is the partial or complete paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs. This is usually due to an injury or disease of the spinal cord in the thoracic or lumbar region. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. Paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms. The loss is usually sensory and motor, which means that both sensation and control are lost. Hemiplegia is the total or partial paralysis of one side of the body that results from disease of or injury to the motor centers of the brain.
A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone at any time. There are 600 new spinal cord injuries every year in Ontario (more than one per day). Current estimates indicate that there are approximately 33,140 Ontarians living with spinal cord injury. In Canada there are more than 1,500 new spinal cord injuries per year. There is an estimated 86,000 people living in the country with spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injury is one of the most traumatic events to occur in an individual’s life. Spinal cord injury affects family, friends, employers, community and the health care system.
It is estimated that the annual economic burden of traumatic SCI in Canada is approximately $3.6 billion, of which $1.8 billion is associated with direct health care costs. The top causes for traumatic spinal cord injuries in Ontario are unintentional falls at 43.2% and motor vehicle accidents at 42.8%. In Ontario, males represent 68.4% of traumatic spinal cord injuries and women represent 31.6%. In Ontario, the highest incidence of traumatic injury is to individuals in the age range of 20-29 and also to those over 70 years of age.
After the spinal cord injury occurs, you will most likely need attendant care services. Attendant care workers provide assistance with daily needs and nursing functions such as bladder management, bowel control, skin care and medications. They may also answer questions you may have about sex after the injury and managing your relationships.
- Fluid Intake
- Alcohol Intake
- Urine Assessment
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Intermittent Catheterization (IC)
- Procedure for clean technique
- Cleaning Catheters
- Cleaning Tubing and Drainage Bags
- Positioning of Bed Bags at Night
- Foley Catheter
- Condom Catheter Application
- Autonomic Dysreflexia
Neurogenic bowel is a frequent problem for patients with spinal cord injury. With planning and care help, there is the possibility to regain control over bowel function.
There are 3 types of post SCI pain:
- Musculoskeletal Pain
- Neuropathic Pain
- Visceral Pain
What does the skin do? The skin is the largest organ in the human body, with a diverse set of characteristics and capabilities that serve multiple functions.
The four basic functions of your skin are:
- To protect you
- To regulate your body temperature
- To regulate fluids in your body
- To facilitate sensation
You may be wondering will I be able to have sex again? The answer to your question is most definitely, yes! It may be different from how it was before, but it certainly is possible. In fact some people say that their sexual relationship has improved since their spinal cord injury because it has encouraged them to focus on sexual intimacy rather than just sex.
Following spinal cord injury, you may be asking yourself how can I keep my relationship healthy and will my relationship last? If your injury is new and you already are in a relationship remember that the losses for you are very significant, but they also are for your partner. Put effort into preserving the things that you and your partner enjoyed doing as a couple before your injury. Try as much as possible, to get back into those things. Don’t allow your relationship to be consumed with your injury and what is happening to you. Put another way – don’t let spinal injury take over your life. It is a part of your life but it does not have to be your whole life. The way that you express intimacy in your relationship will often be a gauge of generally how good your relationship is. Couples will often blame sexuality for a relationship break-up, however these problems are more likely an indicator of other problems in the relationship.