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Stress and the impact of spinal cord injuries

Frustration is common after a spinal cord injury. Simply knowing that you can't do the things that you are accustomed to doing can be very difficult. If you are dealing with this right now, or if you are a caregiver taking care of someone with a spinal cord injury, you should take the time to learn how to manage your stress. Failing to do so can have very serious consequences.

While many people think that stress can only lead to heart disease and similar conditions, this isn't the case. In addition, stress can lead to fatigue, alcohol dependency and gastrointestinal troubles. All of these can be hard for a person with a spinal cord injury to face while dealing with the effects of the injury.

It is interesting to note that a British study found that the degree of disability didn't have any bearing on the amount of stress a spinal cord injury patient felt. People with very serious effects were just as likely to feel stress as those with minimal effects.

The time that has elapsed since the injury does seem to have some bearing on the severity of the stress a person feels. One study in the United States found that Texans who suffered spinal cord injuries felt more stress than spinal cord injury survivors in Great Britain. This was partially attributed to the fact that Texan survivors were younger and less time had elapsed since their accidents.

Finding methods to control stress means that you have to think about what will calm you down. Find activities that you enjoy that aren't difficult for you to do. In some cases, therapy might help you to discover ways to combat stress. If your injury was caused by an accident that wasn't your fault, you might choose to seek compensation. If it is awarded, compensation could help you to feel less financial stress.

Source: Spinal Cord Injury Zone, "Understanding and Managing Stress," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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