Managing the Psychological Effects of Spinal Injury

The psychological effects of spinal injury can be very difficult for individuals to deal with as they come to terms with dramatic changes to their life. Psychological effects can include depression, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, stress, confusion and mood swings from feelings of anger or frustration.

At the beginning, symptoms such as numbness, disbelief and shock can also be experienced. Very often the psychological effects of spinal injury are accompanied by a whole range of physical effects, such as pressure sores and pains in different parts of the body. The physical effects of stress can also arise such as muscle tension, insomnia, headaches and fatigue.

Individuals affected by spinal injury should feel reassured that there are plenty of resources available to help them through difficult periods.

Managing the Psychological Effects as well as the Physical Effects of Spinal Injury

It is very important for all parties involved with a patient to help manage both the psychological and physical effects of spinal injury effectively and to do so early to avoid worsening any issues that arise.

It is beneficial for the injured person to be able talk to someone, especially when feelings of loneliness or hopelessness mount or when the pain is particularly bad. There are a number of telephone counselling services available around the country if the injured person feels unable to talk with familymembers or close friends.

To reduce stress caused by a spinal injury general lifestyle tips such as staying as active as possible, maintaining a healthy diet and spending plenty of time in the fresh air, should also help.

If a feeling of depression persists, those with spinal injuries should consult a GP, who may suggest some kind of treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy or medication, depending on the exact diagnosis. In some cases medication may be appropriate.

Avoiding Isolation and Staying Positive

Spinal injuries can sometimes leave patients completely disabled, often confining them to hospital wards. Changes in the person's daily life such as loss of privacy and independence, and a lack of contact with family members and friends, may exacerbate psychological effects of the injury. In these cases, it becomes important that patients maintain close contact with family members and friends to avoid isolation.

Throughout the recovery time and beyond it is important for the injured person to use help to try to stay positive even in times of severe pain and slow progress. However, despite the need to maintain a positive outlook on life including the planning of future life events, it is very important to set realistic short and long-term goals in order to avoid disappointment.

Getting the Right Support

Spinal injuries often result in compensation claims to support the injured party with adjusting to their changed living circumstances. It is important for any legal adviser to have as deep an understanding of the above issues as possible to be able to advise the client appropriately and assist with obtaining help. As with all injuries, hiding the effects never helps.

A spinal injury is often a permanently debilitating condition, which can affect the patient for the rest of their life. A legal adviser must not only possess intricate knowledge of the relevant law but must also have sufficient background knowledge of spinal injuries and their effects to properly advise the client.