These articles are from local authors. Topics included cover a variety of subjects related to spinal cord injury. In time, additional articles on various topics will be added. Articles may be submitted to SCIAK for inclusion by any author. Please submit articles here.
Congress created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 to provide health coverage to two fairly distinct groups of Americans: workers who reach age 65 (that is, senior citizens) and certain groups of low-income people. While much has remained constant in Medicare and Medicaid in the past 40 years, both programs have evolved significantly. Collectively, they have come to play a major role in providing health care coverage and long-term services and supports for people of all ages with disabilities.
This guide explains the critical role Medicare and Medicaid have come to play in the lives and the futures of roughly 20 million children, adults, and seniors with disabilities—and gives people with disabilities new information to help them navigate these complex and confusing programs.
Roger L. Butterbaugh, Ph.D. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Frazier Rehab Institute, Louisville, Kentucky
This body that I've been living in since I was born, doesn't work like it used to. In fact, some parts don't work at all. I can't feel them. I can't move them. And what I've learned is that they can be heavy like a lump of clay and useless getting from bed to the wheelchair. Earlier this year, I ran a race with my cousin. Me worried? Scared to death. What's next? Who knows?
After injury and hospitalization, new spinal cord patients usually know or sense deep within that life is going to be very different than it used to be. And yet, it is difficult to know exactly what to think or how to feel because there are so many uncertainties. "Do the doctors really know or are they wrong? It doesn't really matter what they say because I've always come back from injury-I work hard. Think positive, I've got to think positive. What will my friends and family think of me? I don't want my girlfriend to see me like this. Maybe I should have died? I can't move my toes, my ankles. They must be asleep. I must be asleep. This is a dream, it's unreal."
Press Release Cindy Norton, President of the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Association of Kentucky - Louisville , KY
Cindy Norton, President of the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Kentucky and Friends For Michael, Inc. Spinal Cord Injury Organization, talks about Christopher Reeve and his contributions to the fight for a cure for spinal cord injury and disease.
“This has been a trying few days...Christopher Reeve was such An important and special advocate for Spinal Cord Research. He brought the awareness to the world that spinal cord research would help do so much to cure so many diseases...not just spinal cord injury! He touched so many lives...so many he never even knew. With his determination...he gave so much hope. With his faith...he gave so much more!!! With his love...he gave!! In part because of being a famous actor...but mainly...because he was the type of person that didn't give up and cared about others so much.”
William A. Kraft, Ph.D. Director, Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury Programs, Psychology Department and Neuropsychological Services Frazier Rehab Institute Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Louisville Medical School
Time catches up with all of us, sooner or later. For persons with spinal cord injury (SCI), the effects of aging is an extremely important area that is receiving increasing research interest. Dr. Daniel Lammertse of Craig Hospital notes that with the introduction of antibiotics and specialized treatment beginning after World War II, dramatic improvement in life expectancy was realized. This has altered the focus of services to individuals with SCI from acute care to needs that cross the entire life span.
Exercise is physical activity that is routine and structured to promote improved overall endurance, flexibility, and strength. It is recommended that the average able-bodied individual exercise at least 3-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes yet there are many barriers to regular exercise including lack of: time, personal desire, money, energy, or resources. For an individual who has suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) exercise, though not done routinely prior to injury, is more crucial to overall health than ever before.
There are many possible complications that can follow spinal cord injury secondary to compromised sensation and motor control. These individuals are at risk for potential skin breakdown. Depending on the level of injury, there is also the risk of pulmonary complications and involuntary autonomic responses affecting the heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure. The vascular system of these individuals is compromised, placing them at risk for: blood clots secondary to venous pooling, increased fatigued, decreased temperature regulation, and decreased overall cardiovascular fitness. Thus, these complications demonstrate both the dilemma and crucial significance of exercise and good nutrition for spinal cord injury survivors.
Karen K. Bloom, MD, FACP Rehab Associates, Louisville, Kentucky
Spasticity is a motor disorder in which there is an increase in muscle tone with exaggerated tendon reflexes as a result of increased excitability of the stretch reflex. In persons with spinal cord injury, it occurs only in individuals with upper motor neuron lesions (usually above a T10 level). The increase in muscle tone itself has positive and negative aspects. The treatment of spasticity may involve important health issues as well as quality of life.
Spasticity may have some benefits. It prevents muscle atrophy or decrease in muscle size. That is why people with upper motor lesions usually maintain their muscle bulk. Spasticity may help to control swelling in feet and may also lock weak muscles into place to make transfers or weight bearing easier.