Does Everyone with SCI use a Wheelchair?

Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

wheelchairNote: This is the final post in our two-week blog series on spinal cord injuries and related conditions. Read some of our previous posts here.

Many (but not all) spinal cord injuries result in paralysis, and confine patients to wheelchairs. One of the more common questions we get regarding spinal cord injuries is:

Does every patient with a spinal cord injury need to use a wheelchair?

That is the topic we will be exploring in this article.

Levels of Injury

The quick and easy answer to this question is no – not everyone who sustains a spinal cord injury is bound to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. Some SCI patients certainly do need the assistance of a wheelchair to get around, but that’s not always the case with every patient.

The extent of the paralysis depends on the level of the spine that is injured and exactly how damaged the impacted nerves are. This will also affect the type of wheelchair a patient needs. If the patient has full use of their arms, a manually operated wheelchair will suffice. If the patient is paralyzed from the neck down, a motorized wheelchair may be necessary.

Is there Hope for Recovery?

Once spinal nerves are severed, the resulting paralysis is usually permanent. There is currently no effective way to regrow spinal nerves and return sensation and function to paralyzed limbs. However, patients with spinal cord injuries go on to live long and fulfilling lives in spite of their injury. Even patients who are confined to wheelchairs are often still able to drive, swim, and accomplish everyday tasks. Contact a spine physician to discuss how you can best treat your spinal cord injury.

That wraps up our two-week blog series focused on spinal cord injuries. If you have any other questions about SCI or would like to see any additional topics covered, leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to respond!

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