I was involved in a car accident in 2001 that left me a C6-7 quadriplegic and took the life of my friend. Up until that time I had virtually no awareness of what it meant to have a disability, nor did I realize how ignorant I truly was about disability.
As an inpatient at Craig Hospital, I remember feeling so alone. I felt that although friends and family were there and supportive, they did not truly understand what I was dealing with. I was barely 17, lost, depressed, and without many options. When I left the hospital there were no follow up groups for those dealing with injuries, and it was an extremely emotionally and physically difficult time.
In the twelve years I have been injured, I have seen a dramatic shift in the outlook and treatment of SCI, and how heavily focus has become on the emotional and physical healing of those who have sustained these life-changing injuries.
Moving forward to 2013, there have been some very beneficial policies implemented for those of us dealing with SCI. The SCI waiver was developed by a woman named Chanda Hilton who has also dealt with the loss of the ability to walk.
This pilot study was designed to provide acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care to recipients who have sustained a SCI and meet criteria to participate. A major focus of the study is on long-term care and quality of life for those living with SCI today.
As a participant myself, I can assure you that my level of pain has significantly diminished since beginning treatment and I am only in the beginning phases.
Emotionally I have been feeling much more positive than before, and I have not been feeling as depressed. This is a very positive outcome for this type of injury, considering at times it can feel self-defeating.
Acupuncture focuses on the vitality of health, targeting symptoms comparable to fatigue, concentration, mood, and energy. Massage and chiropractic care to some extent may indirectly affect emotional health, but have a central function of reducing pain and taking care of the physical needs of our bodies. Additionally, these services give us something positive to look forward to. Who wouldn’t want to get pampered for two to three hours per week at no charge?!
My advice to all of you who are not in Colorado but feel you would benefit from this type of service, is to investigate the waiver, get in contact with the right people, and make it happen. Taking care of ourselves is so important not only in the short term, but in the long-term as well. The better we take care of ourselves now, the lower the likelihood becomes of serious health concerns later.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.