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Coping with
Spinal Cord Injury

FacingDisability.com connects families who suddenly have to deal with a spinal cord injury to people like them who have already been there.

REAL PEOPLE,
REAL EXPERIENCES

Everybody in these videos
is living with a spinal cord injury

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 REAL PEOPLE, REAL EXPERIENCES

Everybody in these videos
is living with a spinal cord injury 

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WHAT THE
EXPERTS SAY

Top medical experts
focus on important SCI topics

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WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

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ANIMATED SCI LEVELS CHART

Mouse over the spinal column to see how the level of injury affects loss of function and control

More About Spinal Cord Injury

spine C1-C8 spine T1-T12 spine L1-L5 sacrum

Cervical Injuries

Cervical injuries above the C-4 level may require a ventilator for the person to breathe. C-5 injuries often result in shoulder and biceps control, but no control at the wrist or hand. C-6 injuries generally yield wrist control, but no hand function. Individuals with C-7, C-8 and T-1 injuries can straighten their arms, but still may have problems with their hands.

Thoracic Injuries

The first thoracic vertebra, T-1, is located approximately at the same level as the top rib. Injuries to nerves in this region usually affect the chest and the legs, and result in paraplegia. For injuries from T-1 to T-8, there is usually control of the hands but lack of abdominal muscle control. (Individuals with injuries from T-1 to T-6 are also at risk for Autonomic Dysreflexia)

Lumbar Injuries

Injuries to nerves in the area of L-1 to L-5 generally result in some loss of functioning of the hips and legs. Bowel, bladder and sexual function may also be impacted.

Sacral Injuries

The sacrum runs from the pelvis to the end of the spinal column. Injuries to nerves in this area generally result in some loss of functioning of the hips, legs, ankles, and feet. Loss of control of bowel and bladder and sexual functions is also common.

ANIMATED SCI LEVELS CHART

Mouse over the spinal column to see how the level of injury affects loss of function and control

More About Spinal Cord Injury

Cervical Injuries

Cervical injuries above the C-4 level may require a ventilator for the person to breathe. C-5 injuries often result in shoulder and biceps control, but no control at the wrist or hand. C-6 injuries generally yield wrist control, but no hand function. Individuals with C-7, C-8 and T-1 injuries can straighten their arms, but still may have problems with their hands.

Thoracic Injuries

The first thoracic vertebra, T-1, is located approximately at the same level as the top rib. Injuries to nerves in this region usually affect the chest and the legs, and result in paraplegia. For injuries from T-1 to T-8, there is usually control of the hands but lack of abdominal muscle control. (Individuals with injuries from T-1 to T-6 are also at risk for Autonomic Dysreflexia)

Lumbar Injuries

Injuries to nerves in the area of L-1 to L-5 generally result in some loss of functioning of the hips and legs. Bowel, bladder and sexual function may also be impacted.

Sacral Injuries

The sacrum runs from the pelvis to the end of the spinal column. Injuries to nerves in this area generally result in some loss of functioning of the hips, legs, ankles, and feet. Loss of control of bowel and bladder and sexual functions is also common.

Facing Disability Blog

ADA 32nd Anniversary Advances
By Stephanie Lollino

Editor’s Note: Last week, disability communities across the nation celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark achievement in the history of disability civil rights. 

There is no question that bias against people with disabilities still exists. This includes assumptions about what people with disabilities are capable of achieving. That bias often results in barriers for people with disabilities. Increased visibility and education are needed to raise awareness and exposure about disability, including the fact that so many Americans have a disability, and that disability is visible and invisible  ...

Read more about the ADA Bill of Rights

Facing Disability Blog

ADA 32nd Anniversary Advances

By Stephanie Lollino

Editor’s Note: Last week, disability communities across the nation celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark achievement in the history of disability civil rights. 

There is no question that bias against people with disabilities still exists. This includes assumptions about what people with disabilities are capable of achieving. That bias often results in barriers for people with disabilities. Increased visibility and education are needed to raise awareness and exposure about disability, including the fact that so many Americans have a disability, and that disability is visible and invisible  Read more about the ADA Bill of Rights

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HELP YOU CAN TRUST

FacingDisability presents current information on spinal cord injury which has been developed by working with medical experts at major hospitals universities and rehabilitation institutions. They include: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago; Harvard Spaulding Medical Center, Boston; Shepherd Center, Atlanta; Craig Hospital, Denver; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. FacingDisability staff members serve on committees of the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The National Institute on Disability and Independent Living (NIDLRR).  

Spinal cord injury medical experts who are interviewed on FacingDisability.com come from: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago; Craig Hospital, Denver; Shepherd Center, Atlanta; Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia; Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago; TIRR Memorial Hermann, Houston; VA Palo Alto Health Care System, CA; Memphis VA Medical Center, TN; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, D.C.; 

VA Boston Healthcare System; Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City, Missouri; Case Western University, Cleveland; Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee; Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; Arkansas Spinal Cord Injury Commission, Little Rock; VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle; School of Public Health, Indiana University.

Personal interviews of people living with spinal cord injury were recorded by FacingDisability in Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, and California.

FacingDisability is regularly invited to make presentations at the national meetings of spinal cord injury associations: Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP), American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA), Rehabilitation Psychology Conference, The International Spinal Cord Injury Society (ISCoS), American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) and at the Paralyzed Veterans of America Summit (PVA).

FacingDisability.com is funded by the Hill Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit.

 

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