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Health behaviors and management critical for spinal cord injury patients

August 11, 2016

It can happen in a split second from a vehicle crash, a fall or a gunshot: a person's spinal cord tissue is bruised or torn by a shocking blow.

While often unexpected, it isn't uncommon. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 282,000 people currently living with a spinal cord injury in the United States.

"Spinal cord injury significantly alters a person's way of life," says Michelle Meade, Ph.D., associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. "Perhaps the most dramatic alteration is the individual's health and the steps they have to take to manage it on a daily basis."

Meade is the co-editor of a two-part series of Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation focused on recent research studies about health behaviors and health management in individuals with spinal cord injury.

The first issue, published this past winter, includes five articles highlighting the health management challenges individuals with spinal cord injury encounter and the strategies they engage in to overcome those obstacles.

Articles include topics around medical cannabis use, strategies for interacting with the health care system, self-care measures, physical health barriers to employment after a spinal cord injury and a new intervention for families.

The second issue, published this spring, includes four articles focusing on the importance of health behaviors in patients with spinal cord injury and the need for management of physical and psychological health in these individuals.

Articles include topics around management of bowel and bladder dysfunction, resilience after a spinal cord injury, impact of psychological health management on employment after a spinal cord injury and self-management programs.

"Both of these journal issues highlight the importance of health behaviors and proactively managing health for people with spinal cord injury," Meade says.

Meade mentions the culmination of these research studies is a way to highlight the need for further research on health management among individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

"We hope these two issues of Topics in Spinal Cord Rehabilitation will inspire our colleagues who work and conduct research with individuals with spinal cord injuries to continue to address this important topic," she says. "Giving our patients the knowledge and tools to proactively manage their health and improve their quality of life is always a top priority."
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University of Michigan Health System

Related Spinal Cord Injury Articles:

Spinal cord injury increases risk for mental health disorders
A new study finds adults with traumatic spinal cord injury are at an increased risk of developing mental health disorders and secondary chronic diseases compared to adults without the condition.
Co-delivery of IL-10 and NT-3 to enhance spinal cord injury repair
Spinal cord injury (SCI) creates a complex microenvironment that is not conducive to repair; growth factors are in short supply, whereas factors that inhibit regeneration are plentiful.
IU scientists study link between energy levels, spinal cord injury
A team of researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, have investigated how boosting energy levels within damaged nerve fibers or axons may represent a novel therapeutic direction for axonal regeneration and functional recovery.
UBCO professor simplifies exercise advice for spinal cord injury
Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis says a major barrier to physical activity for people with a spinal cord injury is a lack of knowledge or resources about the amount and type of activity needed to achieve health and fitness benefits.
Robotic trunk support assists those with spinal cord injury
A Columbia Engineering team has invented a robotic device -- the Trunk-Support Trainer (TruST) -- that can be used to assist and train people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) to sit more stably by improving their trunk control, and thus gain an expanded active sitting workspace without falling over or using their hands to balance.
Does frailty affect outcomes after traumatic spinal cord injury?
A new study has shown that frailty is an important predictor of worse outcome after traumatic spinal cord injury in patients less than 75 years of age.
Sleep and sleepiness 'a huge problem' for people with spinal cord injury
A new study led by a University of Calgary researcher at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) finds that fatigue and sleep may need more attention in order to prevent issues like stroke after spinal cord injury.
From spinal cord injury to recovery
Spinal cord injury disconnects communication between the brain and the spinal cord, disrupting control over part of the body.
Transplanting adult spinal cord tissues: A new strategy of repair spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injury repair is one of the most challenging medical problems, and no effective therapeutic methods has been developed.
Timing could mean everything after spinal cord injury
Moderate damage to the thoracic spinal cord causes widespread disruption to the timing of the body's daily activities, according to a study of male and female rats published in eNeuro.
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